Poet-artist Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay is all set for his second solo exhibition at the Indian Museum

Poet-artist Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay’s solo exhibition of poetry in calligraphy displays abstraction in written form

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  18th October 2019 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  18th October 2019 12:00 AM

Poet-artist Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay at work

Deeply rooted in philosophy, poet-artist Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay's work has always celebrated nature, suffering and the universe as a whole. His very first exhibition of poetry in the calligraphic art form at Maya Art Space last year was widely appreciated. This year too, the 45-year-old experimental artist, whose calligraphy work has been hugely influenced by traditional Japanese art forms, will be holding his second solo exhibition of 50 black and white artwork at the Indian Museum from October 24 onwards.

Artwork by Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay

To be inaugurated by Masayuki Taga, the Consul General of Japan for Kolkata, celebrated artist Jogen Chowdhury and noted actor Jaya Ahsan, Nilanjan’s artwork will display some eternally nostalgic Bengali words painted in Japanese calligraphy style besides a few poems written by him. Alongside the display of his painted poems, the exhibition will also see the release of his second book on short poems and calligraphy, called Bhalobashar Mato (Seems Like Love).

A researcher on Nobel-winning author and poet Rabindranath Tagore and Japanese culture, Bandyopadhyay has spent a great part of his life studying and observing Japanese calligraphic practices and among the three commonly practised styles — namely Kaisho (block style), Gyosho (semi-cursive style) and Sosho (cursive style) — he prefers the latter, which is written in a few swift strokes. “That often makes it pretty difficult to decipher the text, unless well-explained,” explains the maverick artist.

Artwork by Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay

To paint all his poetries, he uses Japanese tools of art including calligraphy paper (zenshi), ink (sumi), supporting undersheet (black shitajiki), paperweight (bunchin), brushes (fude) and water dropper (suiteki). He also signs his calligraphies with a Japanese seal or rakkan comprising the Japanese Katakana alphabet Ni, which represents the first two letters of his name. His favourite words for calligraphy include brishti (rain), koshto (pain), anka (painting), poth (path), golpo (story), gaan (song), kotha (words), mrityu (death), jibon (life) and swapno (dream), among others and the same will be on display at the exhibition too.

“Nilanjan’s work is admirable and he has a great sense of aesthetics and originality. The bilingual culture and the Japanese economy of expression make his work more fascinating. Artistic expression in limited space is well-carried out by him,” tells Jayanta Sengupta, director of Victoria Memorial Hall.

Artwork by Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay

This new art form introduced by Nilanjan has started getting considerable attention from art lovers and collectors and also inspiring many to pick up the brush and try different calligraphies. “The idea of writing Bengali with brush struck me and my visits to Japan during frequent close interactions with Japanese shodo masters (shodo in Japanese means ‘the way of writing’). Though Bengali calligraphy is not unique, abstraction is rare and I concentrate on that,” adds the artist.

“This is a very new and experimental art form that Nilanjan is exploring and that’s why we thought of displaying them here,” tells Sayan Bhattacharya, education officer at the Indian Museum.

Exhibition on from October 24 to November 10 at Ashutosh Hall and Gallery in Indian Museum.