An Ode To The Epic, MAHABHARAT Opens At Birla Academy Of Art & Culture

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Four eminent artists, Aditya Basak, Chandra Bhattacharjee, Jaya Ganguly & Samir Aich portraying their very recent take on the time-honored epic tale from the land of India, known as ‘MAHABHARAT’ was inaugurated today at the Birla Academy of Art & Culture. The exhibition was inaugurated by legendary actor, Shri Soumitra Chatterjee and Renowned Filmmaker, Shri Goutam Ghose in the presence of ace painters like Shri Ganesh Haloi, Shri Jogen Chowdhury & Shri Shuvaprasanna. Curated by Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, this exhibition will go on till 17th November, 2019 every day except Mondays from 3 to 8 p.m.

Indian art is rich with depictions of The Mahabharat. We see a stunning variety of interpretations, from the descriptive sculptures of antiquity and the gloriously detailed miniatures, down to more contemporary readings. Artists like Raja Ravi Verma, Bamapada Banerjee, Gaganendranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose have portrayed it in their unique styles. Folk art has generously borrowed from it. Modern stalwarts like MF Husain, Ganesh Pyne, Paritosh Sen and A. Ramachandran, among others, have left behind exemplary works, adding crisp dimension to the ancient text. The Mahabharat, in fact, stretches across too vast a canvas of Indian art to be boiled down to a few words. The driving challenge behind this show was to set aside this opulent history and focus on representing The Mahabharat vis-à-vis the current reality. Through this exposition, Jaya Ganguly built her paintings around her construal of incidents in the epic, Samir Aich saw himself as a strident warrior in Kurukshetra. For Aditya Basak, The Mahabharat was the world’s most egregious genocide whereas Chandra Bhattacharjee’s empathy was with the inevitable loneliness of the epic heroes. A special thematic score for this exhibition has been arranged by renowned composer Shri Debojyoti Mishra.

“I realized that the idiom and style of each artist would play a critical role in the composition of this exhibition. Their perceptive response to our shifting universe is evident in their oeuvres. Their feeling essays on the human condition have, over the years, carved out elevated spaces. This show celebrates the singular style of each artist in interpreting an epic we all share as Indians. These paintings are not straightforward narratives of events. While they are not be illustrative, viewers may still find all 18 eighteen episodes of The Mahabharat condensed in each work”, said Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, Curator.

The exhibition will be spread across two venues. The large canvas paintings will be on display at the Birla Academy of Art & Culture from November 7th till 17th, simultaneously, a set of small format works will be exhibited at Gallery Charubashona in the Jogen Choudhury Centre for Arts from November 11th through 17. These smaller works are basically pre-excercises or layouts that shine a light on the artists’ thought process as they grappled with themes from the epic that would add an expansive dimension and further enrich the viewing experience. There will 20 paintings at Birla Academy of Art & Culture whereas 25 paintings will be exhibited at Gallery Charubashona in the Jogen Choudhury Centre for Arts. Medium is Mixed Media on Canvas.

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