Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya’s latest collection of paintings is a character study of the Mahabharata

The Kolkata-based painter has been part of over 58 shows around the world and has been making art since the 1960s

Anagha M Published :  08th April 2022 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  08th April 2022 06:00 AM
Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya's painting

Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya's painting

Since he was a young boy, Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya was fascinated and intrigued by the stories of the Mahabharata. The Kolkata-based painter has been part of over 58 shows around the world and has been making art since the 1960s. His latest collection of paintings is an exploration of the characters from the epic. The show, titled Faces — A Race From Epic, opens in Bengaluru next week and will be inaugurated by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

“As a child, I used to learn about Mahabharata from my parents. When I grew up, I read a very interesting and concise translation of the epic written in 1946 by famous Bengali writer Rajshekhar Basu, better known by his pen name Parashuram,” says Shuvaprasanna who is known for his modern style of paintings, and has also published many books on art and literature. Parashuram’s book sparked a keen interest in the painter and together with a friend, he took a deep dive into researching the characters and the themes.

“The Mahabharata has a beautiful story of course,” Shuvaprasanna says during our phone conversation, adding “But even more than that, all the themes, be it jealousy, revenge, wrath, hatred, envy, greed or desire, which are vividly and meticulously portrayed, are all so relevant today. That is why I started researching the epic. We are still in the same rat race as we were in the ancient times. I can see many Shakunis around me today... many Draupadis.” Just before the pandemic hit, he had made about 25 
portraits and over the past two years he added to the collection. The upcoming show has 30 canvas paintings. 

Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya

Each painting tackles one character from the Mahabharata such as Gandhari, Shakuni, Karna, Arjuna or Krishna. The paintings use acrylic, charcoal and ink on canvas. “I have played with different textures 
a lot in this collection,” he adds. The mixed media pieces will also be accompanied by small descriptions of these characters, and what they represent to the painter. The characters are the main subjects of each canvas, standing out with their prominent features, bold hues and modernist style. The character-istics and emotions of each are expressed through the colours, the eyes and the nose. “The Maha-bharata is a huge epic. If I had time, I could have done hundreds of portraits. I still have so many ideas in my head. But I had to have some limit. I thought if the audience likes it and is inspired by it, I will make more and more,” Shuvaprasanna signs off. 

Until April 30. At Gallery Time and Space, Lavelle Road