“If a sparrow comes before my window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel.”

                                                                                                         John Keats

Only Artist has the singular ability to draw the outer object into his/her own being—to sense its qualities and to feel one with it. It is also a proof of the spiritual entity living in us. Through Art, artists not only disclose and express their mood but also transcend their personal feelings. This changing world with its changeless laws is beautiful and mysterious. This mysterious beauty is the epi-centre of spiritual energy. Artists are uniquely devised to transunite the beauty of nature and the striving of soul. Beauty is a quality of trees or colours for a superficial being; actually it is a manifestation of spiritual anxiety. 

Paintings basically reveal the inner aesthetics of truth. It may rightly be said that truth is the inference drawn from disciplined and analyzed experience. Art is the experience with the discipline of form; it emanated from experience as well as submerged in experience. There is no truth outside intellectual construction. The forms those are intellectually constructed in painting are made beautiful by the emotional reaction to it.

Experiences may be same in totality but its impact varies from person to person; depending on the individual’s sensitivity. The conditions under which one live is the result of one’s state of consciousness that he or she belongs to. Seeking to change the conditions without changing consciousness is, in vain. Men strive for going closer to the almighty, from time immemorial; from incomplete to complete state; this journey will be going ever. 

Faith nurtures hope, hope gives strength, and strength develops spirituality. As spiritual being we are in search of our true identity. The true identity is that, which is not imposed or told to us: true identity is the realization of the substance of which we are made of: the experience is such a thing that we cannot leave behind and this realization is beyond sensory. Identity investigation is in itself a dialogue with the self and many artists attempted in this realm. But most of them lost path in socio-politico consciousness. The boarders create the boundaries. Artist may or may not conscious about his knack towards spirituality but always walk in the path of expressing the core contents of life that is imagination, illusion, experience, reality, humanity and spirituality. Artists as a spiritual and universal being, found themselves as a misfit thus transgress into visual world to balance.

Artist or a lay man both adapts in order to harmonize with the worldly norms which are instrumental to convert them as an archetype social being. With an inherent sense of duty the soul strive for perfection and excellence. After experiencing the disillusionment one fathom-ably try to connect to the serious and profound: to the inner self. And self realization asserts spirituality. Some people are of the view that spirituality, wisdom, morality are to practice in the last phase of life that is in old age. But spirituality is not about ageing rather it is all about experiencing and seeing life in particularly appropriate perspective.  

There are innumerable aspects of spirituality. It is therefore difficult to segregate spiritualism in sub-themes. Birth, Copulation, death, soul, spirit, universality, consciousness, conscience, perfection, excellence, ethics, morality, spirituality, is all encompassing life as a whole. Here it must be acknowledged that religion and spiritual practice are though complementary to each other but more often they stood against one another. Spirituality compared to Religion is a far broader concept.

 

 

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Flowers of steel,

Lotus in stone,

Petals of metal  bloomed –

The steel edges cut eyes,

The softness of stone hurt egoes.

Volcano erupts

While thrusting the metal cores,

Magma , lava entwined with stone

All liquid-

whirlpool of flowing metal,

Melts in core to take shapes of flower.

The earth surrounds with numerous flowers,

Unravelling colours dots the ground,

The divide , the contrast

Comes along with the civilization

When dichotomy of metal and nature

Narrate the intolerance for ephemeral

Now the aesthetical metal flowers

Dominate nature……….

“It’s a matter of existence, art aims at the political as the ultimate means of emancipation”. Socially conscious characteristic of artist had entered in the Indian scenario in 1905 and made their presence felt in the contemporary art field from 1940s. The Calcutta Group and the Progressive Artists’ Group’s significant shifts not only in themes but also in their representations chiselled out a historic moment in the contemporary art scenario. The artists of Calcutta Group responded to the corresponding apparently the harshness of life.

The communal riots following devastating Bengal Famine made the artist felt the necessity to express primarily the reality-social and political. Through the emergence of Calcutta Group, a different mode of artistic expression can be noticed, that followed the transformation of artist’s internality. Evolving new narratives they voiced the time but refused to work within any defied parameters or to serve any particular political interest. It was for them, initially a social mission also that gradually after the post-independence to the more relevant artistic cause to search new visual idioms. A few outside Calcutta Group had political involvement with communist party that negotiation brought them instant recognition as their works were regularly published in the newspapers “Janayudh” People’s war “Publicized by communist party.

Inclusion and reception of the modern idiom in the 40s represent the articulation of large struggle. The connections among the works of the artist’s of the transitional phase of 40s to wide 50s can be seen in the light of pre Independence and post independence political concerns re- understanding of the art is not different for Calcutta Group and we find they were neither can be linked with nationalism directly through the stylization of art nor to the colonial concept of academicism. They distinguished their art from the trade mark of Indian identification in fact they were advance in finding and creating new conceptions of Indian  identity well ahead from their time form 1930s. Calcutta Group’s works from 1940s demonstrate the deconstructing vision of Nationalism, affecting the visual Calcutta in the 40s. Making grounds for western concepts and experimentative excursions in art to come to this subcontinent. Sovereignty of India from 1947 is a point from which a shift can be noticed in larger scenario later all the three groups Bombay Progressive Artists Group, Delhi Shilpi Chakra, and Calcutta Group, with their genuine efforts succeeded to carve a niche’ of Indian contemporary art also creating a new authentic relation with the world.  The intermingling, understanding, exchanging, enhancing and affecting of each other’s perception led to a forceful movement. Formed in 1943 but most of the artist of Calcutta Group were constantly engaged from the early stage of their career though the inheritance of colonialism was not so prominent in the works they created often before 1942 except a few.

It’s interesting to find what the key behind their thinking is. What made them think ahead of their time? Kolkata was the hub of all cultural activities; the eminent artists were doing their best to spread their consciousness through events and training. Their disciples, artists of Calcutta Group understood and acknowledged the situation of colonial India. Through constant questioning and negotiating with both colonial and nationalist rhetoric, they evolved their new narrative idiom connecting world art movements, bringing insightful global modernity. Calcutta Group’s works were pioneering opus created by understanding of the three manifold aspects – Indian art, universal art, and presumptively western art. They sought to change in modernism’s pursuit. Calcutta Group should be seen and evaluated as first step of the emergence of self conscious Indian Modernism.

Now it is proved that the Famine of 1943 was fabricated by the ruler community. Bengal famine marked the contretemps in the history of mankind,.  Geoffrey Moorhouse had given evidences to prove, it was the negligence of natives, who were in the Calcutta municipal corporation. However, discursively their share of inhumanity did not lessen, particularly when, they reserved their authoritative power as superior race. The harm inflicted was disconsolate. It dismantled the superficial role played by the British Government. It is indeed marked in these stark piece of verse published in Desh, the most widely read Bengali periodical titled, “Song of the Meek, Tred, 8 Introverted” (Niriha, Klanta Marmanwesider Can) in May 1943, written by Jibananando Das (1899-1954).

We want nothing in particular now,

Our dark light has brought much that is trifling,

Undistinguished we have spent many days like this Yet with to spend many more this very same way.

In bite autumn and amazing pithy pulp coalesces in back waters?

In water chestnuts, in rice gruel;

Or perhaps, nothing coalesces at all to fruition.

An elder brother though ailing,

Yet scolds his sister in law on sight;

With eyes open, with eyes closed

We have seen many times such sickly famine.

And when it grew much colder that evening,

We finally went hot such an autumn silence inside,

Come once again-Far as the stars in the sky reveals meekly,

Just so separation, death fear sin around like gears of some machine,

All of us – every one of us-

Unjust such a silence,

Insipidly.”

1)

I know every details of my life as well as my own loved ones’s lives also. All works of all of us are not justifiable in one aspect, there are other aspects also in which those are fully justified because the main cause is struggle for existence. For that reason everyone does according to one’s own choice, capacity, necessity, circumstantial need and so many such things. So no use of writing any biography narrative, comparative, assertive humanist work or project.  To establish a real characteristic of a worthy person merely for it is counted as a moral duty to write an autobiography of a great men. It is to worship those who must be identified and acknowledged so as they may not fall into the pit of oblivion.

To act or not act, it is a classic dilemma. It is only honest conscientious people who agonize over such perplexing situations. As for selfish unscrupulous men, they are guided and motivated only by their own desires and narrow interests.  And Kurikshetra is the plane of action- the battle here is not a fight between armies, but a war within soul. The chariot symbolizes the body in which the min (Arjuna) is seated, along with Krishnais the the ‘Atman’ Self.The horses represent the five senses that we need to rein in.All of us must fght the good fight, for the just cause.

At the wake of 20th century, the artists were in oblivion regarding their past. They had inclined towards the British Academic art, when Abanindranath Tagore chose an altogether different path of self discovery as well as the re- discovery of our past. Then the Nationalist stylistic notion found its ground, and the political sentiment played a vital role in establishing our national identity.  And then the Bengal School became synonym of Indian Art. Its incompetency to uphold the emotive contents of Indian mass in the long run, failed it and the artists felt to search their roots or the alternative paths. Artists of the early phase except Abani Sen and Gobardhan Ash –  Yamini Roy, Prankrishna Pal, Sunil Madhav Sen searched to find their expression through Academic Realism and Bengal School style, but to their despondency though they had acquired adequate skill to perform their best as per their specialization, their inner urge to reciprocate directly, more straight forwardly left them endangered to the nethermost.These artists who searched their roots, grappling in the dark in order to create a niche’ where they can have a strong foundation to build the history of contemporary art are known as “Artists of Transitional Phase”.

Jamini Roy can be seen as the most prominent figure of Indian art, who broke all the set norms after experimenting in academic realism, impressionist, and post impressionist trends, and also came out from the nostalgic impulse of the revivalist tendency, only to conform the age old form of transmitting tradition of folklore and folk art that was waiting to be re-incarnated, reverberated, through the reciprocal expression of the indigenous artist and viewer. Throughout the 20th century no other artist of his caliber and stature made his presence felt in the International level. He revived the folk art though his representation of form, a rare expression of the very soil from where it came. Bishnu Dey the famous poet, writer and art critic wrote vehemently elaborating his re-orientation of organic folk motifs and the lively brilliant colours spurring vivacity are not at all plagiarism but out and out expression of self. His each and every piece of work has its inner meaning that is content, at the same time his curvilinear bold constructs have that formal approach that is very straight, naïve and indigenous. His subjects may be secular or mythological they bear the same value, vibrancy that made him distinct, he stand alone in the midst of the upsurge that is known as Bengal School revivalism. His pure rhythmic delineation, the drafting of content and form in the simplest possible presentation, with strong linear rendering heightened the subdued simplicity of formal hegemony that had been authenticated as his discovery.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). Though known for his different lyrical designs, Tagore actually painted some extraordinary landscapes. These landscapes are the compositions which can be easily described as a deliberate attempt to contribute to the very aspects of form as an element of compositional design as well as the lyrical value which gives a zest, a life giving thrust to his paintings. I think it is still to be evaluated that whether his paintings should only be judged under the umbrella of the Expressionist movement, or some influence of Negro art or other western influences. Till date no research has ever been partaken on the influences of oriental art in his paintings. There is much scope left for research, on this.

The emergence of “Calcutta Group” in 1943 marked the culmination point of Bengal Renaissance, as it was antithetic to the pre-dominant cultural movement of Nationalist approach in art.

My first attempt to write a blog starts here while I just discussed the situation of the art, artists, and art market situations, that we are facing today.The artists, who follow their own conscience in developing their understanding of art; do not feel any obligation to jump on the band wagon of the ongoing trend, when Shibu Natesan got the gold medal for his work “Under Water” in the Triennale, since then there have been so many artists started working on the same visual language. Artists of Baroda, Shanti Niketan, Kolkata, Gwalior and other states did not spare the opportunity to try a firsthand experience to communicate through this specific creative language, which has its moorings in photography. My aim is not to delve into the source from where it is originated and the impact it poured on Indian Contemporary Art, but trying to show how an individual effort when accepted and recognized transformed into a trend. Installation Art, Conceptual Art, and now Cutting- Edge Art, all these patterns of visual communications are getting more and more recognition. Still, out of 100 crore population in India, how many people care to explore art, or are the majority of art connoisseurs and buyers initiated enough to comprehend and relate to this mode of expression? There is a lack of understanding the contemporary art. We try to find contemporaneity in American Art or the art flourishing abroad. So we are steadily leaving our concepts and philosophy, gathering and acquiring or should we say imitating things with a touch of improvisation. Often artist who do not work on the “Cutting Edge” though living on “the Living Edge”, are more inventive, contemplative, capable to suggest new directions. They tend to express according to their personal temperaments, by their heritage and by their milieu.

Indian heritage, art and culture form the very root of Indian civilization and national identity. As Indians it is time for each of us to realize the creative contribution of artists to the country, which shape its unique identity. Every young mind has the potential to bring change. In this context it is notable that all the revolutionaries and freedom fighters, who lay their life for this country, were in their young age. Young artists in all ages had proved their great ability to revolt in order to welcome the ideological changes which, they are seeking for the benefit of masses.

Since the beginning (if we leave the folk art), art is the business of the elite. It is not so important that they got the taste or not, a man with finance can, if he wishes to be a collector or art dealer. Now a day, the renowned galleries appoint critics and intellectuals as research assistants. As of now there are numerous gallery owners who are untutored to evaluate painting although they are perfectly doing good and pure business in terms of financial  gain. As Akbar Allahabadi truly says ‘Harchand ki hoon hosh mein , hushiyaar nahi hoon, Bazaar se guzra hoon , Khariddar nahi hoon’. There is a need to an organized effort which would ensure to take the meditative artist who cannot bear the hazards of marketing, or who are not willing to market themselves directly, to the platform where they can get an identity.

are we immortal?

Survival? Where is the end?

Thousands of sun bloom in me,

Hurting many egoes,

For plenty of reasons,

What did they find in me?

a torn soul with melancholy seasons,

lust or ecstasy?

a trance of unending miseries,

a withdrawal or a redressal?

Forbidable or unforbidable all seasoned alike

Only realization differs me–

Whatever I am.

misinterpretation an assassination,

a conspiracy of incapable.

subduing of persona–

in a process of adjustment

purely destruction of self.

then why compromising?