Bengal through art

Bengal Beyond Boundaries showcased an impressive display of rare paintings from painters who had lived and worked in Bengal.

author_img Ritaja Roy Published :  17th July 2023 09:57 PM   |   Published :   |  17th July 2023 09:57 PM
Anjolie Ela Menon and Uma Nair

Anjolie Ela Menon and Uma Nair

Kolkata-based Aakriti Art Gallery collaborated with artists Jogen Chowdhury and Uma Nair to organise Bengal Beyond Boundaries, an art exhibition that celebrated the subject and styles of paintings originating in Bengal. The recently concluded exhibition showcased more than 300 works by artists who have lived and worked in Bengal at various points in history.

Curator Uma Nair explained that they were looking for paintings that captured the moments that moved from early Bengal to modern and contemporary times. “Bengal Beyond Boundaries explored the relationship between art, printmaking, and sculptural practices through a series of artworks from the modern era to the millennium. The exhibition examined how the two distinct periods – pre-Independent India and post-Independent India have shaped each other, and how artists have blurred the boundaries to capture moments in time,” she said.

Paintings and sculptures made by Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Sunayani Devi, Nandalal Bose and Phulchand Pyne adorned the galleries that were dedicated to older works. Rare pieces of paintings by artists from the Company School were also displayed in the exhibition. The range of paintings also showed a gradual change in style and influence from the older works to the modern ones.

A change in the profile of painters is also seen in the journey between pre-Independent Bengal art to contemporary Bengal art-while there are only a few paintings by women in the galleries of older paintings, the contemporary art scene features several women artists, including Jayasri Burman, Rini Dhoomal, Paula Sengupta and Anjolie Ela Menon.

Vikram Bachhawat, owner of Aakriti Gallery in Kolkata, said that the exhibition was in the making for a long time. “It all started when I was at Jogen da’s house last December, discussing art exhibitions. He said that Bikaner House seemed to be a good place for an exhibition. We decided on art from Bengal because it has such a rich heritage. And the reception has been phenomenal,” he said.