Tales of Our Time, Anwar Chitrakar’s online exhibition at Emami Art, presents snapshots of the lockdown
Anwar Chitrakar who is known in the art circuit for giving a contemporary touch to the age-old patachitra art, takes his popular Babu and Bibi series to the digital realm for the first time, with Tales of Our Time or Ei Samayer Patt. Inspired by the pandemic the Pingla-based (West Midnapore, Bengal) patua-artiste presents thirteen paintings that are being showcased online at the Emami Art Gallery. In the past, the artist has participated in many exhibitions in India and abroad including The Berlin Festival, Germany and Namaste India Festival, Japan, in 2012.
Talking about the bi-lingual exposition that was triggered by the motive of creating awareness among the people of his village, 31-year-old Anwar offers, “I have grown up watching my forefathers use the folk art, patachitra, to disseminate important messages among people. I have been following their footsteps and like other issues social issues that I have spoken in the past, I made posters and banners in our village creating awareness about the pandemic. Later I decided to make a series making sure it’s fun and relatable.”
Trained in the Kaighat style of art, Anwar’s exhibition depicts different moods of the lockdown with a hint of humour. From couples escaping surveillance by riding the motorbike with masks titled Amar Dushtu Koi (Where is my troublemaker), to two women covering their faces after being chided by a policeman titled Tumi Toh Jano, and dhoti-clad alcoholic Babu carrying a bottle of wine and set to get beaten by his wife captioned Sanitizer Vaccine. Some paintings are thought-provoking like the one titled Kemon Achen Bondhu (How Are You My Friend?) where the animals are free but the humans are in cages. Tales of Our Time also instils a sense of hope with art pieces like Shakti Rupe where divine intervention is expected to quell the pandemic demon.
Though he emphasises that he misses the real-time interaction with art enthusiasts, he does intend to work on the extended version of Tales of Our Time with more emphasis on post-pandemic in the spotlight.
The exhibition is on till July 31.