Tota Kahini (Tale of Parrots) about
children in scholastic jails come alive in digital print on
Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's short stories stand out for
their rich visual imagery and emotional colours. Now, a group of
nine senior Kolkata-based artists have brought these to the canvas
at an exposition here.The showcase, "Tales from Tagore", dwells on
the characters, messages and sharp turns of physical and emotional
realities inherent in Tagore's short stories, said Vikram
Bachhawat, auctioneer and director of Aakriti Art Gallery.
The gallery is presenting the exhibition from May 9-31, coinciding
with the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore.
"It is not surprising that Tagore's profound eclectics have been
so fascinating to creative artists. I have always wanted to see
how his dramatic short stories could be translated on canvas. The
idea of an exhibition themed on his stories seemed novel,"
Bacchawat told IANS on phone from Kolkata.
"The nine artists have tried to interpret the poet's rich oeuvre
through their experience of reading Rabindranath and the bond that
they share with the characters."
The artists are Abhijit Gupta, Aditya Basak, Chandra Bhattacharjee,
Chhatrapati Dutta, Prabhat Basu, Probir Gupta, Rajesh Deb, Sekhar
Roy and Sourav Jana.
In Aditya Basak's "Kshudito Pashan (The Hungry Stones)-I, II,
III", the essence of the supernatural tale is captured in zen-like
layers of colours like creamy beige, green, silver grey-blues,
white and rich humid browns.
The colours appear to float in darkness and the figures - like
ghosts - float on the void of colours to convey agony and despair
in the tale Tagore had spun during a visit to Gujarat.
Basak uses an array of mediums like stone, sand, wood, dust and
acrylic to carry forward his narrative.
Artist Chhatrapati Dutta addresses Tagore's references to
patriarchy, subjugation and gender in his digitally modified
montage of images, "Superimposed Realities".
"I have tried to understand and explore Tagore's short stories 'Shompotti
Shomorpon' and 'Tyag' in my works for this show. I was looking for
two expositions that would have an intuitive connect. I saw an
airless darkness in the heart of both...that can go by labels like
superstition, avarice, bigotry, among so many other blinding
compulsions," artist Chandra Bhattacharya told IANS on phone.
She uses the dual-moon and the visage of a boy-prince rising out
of darkness in acrylic to convey the sense of emptiness that was
the essence of several short stories by the bard of Bengal.
In Abhijit Gupta's canvas "Tota Kahini-Redux", one of Tagore's
timeless short stories, which was a comment on the incarceration
of children in strict regimens of expectations and school books,
comes alive in a series of digital bird parrot cages that line the
surface of his paper.
Artist Sekhar Roy walks a comfortable zone of nature in "Ek Ratri"
and "Balai'. "Of late, I have been reading Tagore a lot… and his
familiar forms, representing a cove, tree, dew drops or the
silence in 'Ekratri' are simplified into archetypal symbols in his
Tagore's spooky tale, "Monihara", about a dead jute miller and his
wife, whose spirit returns to collect her jewellery box, comes
across as an eerie apparition in blue, red and black interwoven
strands on canvas. He uses acrylic, earth colour, ink, oil pastel
and rice paper on canvas to create a surreal picturescape of water
and ghostly forms.