Immortal arts on display in Puri

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By NAMITA PANDA (From top) Kalamandalam Mohankrishnanan performs Ottanthullal, and Prof C.V Chandrasekhar performs Bharatnatyam. Pictures by Badrika Nath Das
  • Published 27.05.11
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Bhubaneswar, May 26: Immortal creations of the art maestros of the state, who have built a strong foundation in contemporary as well as traditional paintings for the current generation, were displayed at a three-day long exhibition in Puri recently. Held to commemorate the platinum jubilee of formation of the state, the works exhibited at the event were the ones that have been awarded by the Orissa Lalit Kala Academy over the years.

From the exotic art works of the doyen of oil painting in the state, guru Bimbadhar Varma, to the abstract shades by renowned names such as Jatin Das and Siba Panigrahi, the paintings displayed at the exhibition gave visitors a unique opportunity to absorb the creative genius of legendary Oriya artists.

Awe-striking techniques with harmonic balance of shades were a common feature in the works of painters in the 1950s and 1960s. Most creations were a blend of landscape backdrops with profiles of traditional beauties or Radha and Krishna. An aesthetic form of the rich natural splendour that existed decades ago in the villages of Orissa was also recorded in many paintings. The paintings were seen in a wide range of media such as oil, watercolour, pen and ink, charcoal, and acrylic.

“Acrylic is a modern medium and was used by painters from the state only from the later half of the 60s. So, one does not find many acrylic works in the most acclaimed paintings of the olden days,” said Rabi Rath, secretary of Orissa Lalit Kala Academy, which had organised the exhibition.

Many visitors were seen making rounds of the exhibition.“This is a very special opportunity for art lovers like me since the works displayed here include the biggest names of artists of the modern era of art in the state,” said 24-year-old visitor Sambit Patnaik. “The work by Durga Prasad Das that depicts the tale of lords Jagannath and Balabhadra begging on the streets, though traditional, has a modern touch that makes it fascinating,” he added.

“The themes as well as techniques of the paintings seem to have changed gradually from the 50s to the 90s. While the works of artists like Bimbadhar Varma were figurative mostly, those by Jatin Das are more towards the formless genre,” said Priti, a final-year student of fine arts.

The exhibition, which concluded on May 23, was held at the municipality hall of Puri. It included 50 works of renowned artists like D.N. Rao, Bipin Bihari Choudhary, Muralidhar Tali, Gopal Kanungo, Gouranga Charan Som, and Jagannath Mohapatra.