Where peace and quietude reign supreme

Where peace and quietude reign supreme
SERENE STROKES: A painting by Animesh Nandi
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to view the latest work by Animesh Nandi, whose Journey 2014, a collection of surrealistic work, has just concluded at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata. After graduation from the Government College of Art and Craft in Kolkata, he went on to do his post-graduation at the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts. Thereafter, Nandi spent many years in Belgrade honing his skills amidst changing art trends. His style may be called surrealism with an Indian soul. Nandi’s book of poems Mon O Aami (meaning ‘me and my mind’) illustrated with his sketches was also on sale at the show.

Nandi’s latest body of work has a sublime aura seldom seen in the abstract works that we see today. His is a world where peace and quietude reign supreme and one can immediately realise why he is associated with ‘silence’, an organisation dedicated to those for whom the word ‘sound’ has no meaning. His paintings of serene lakes, beaches, mountains, clouds and forests are all rendered with a masterly skill. Every painting has a depth of meaning — a particularly beautiful image offers a shankh (conch shell) hovering over a lake surrounded by mountains. Awakening is another splendid creation of mountain peaks jutting out from a sea of clouds. This was an exhibition that will be remembered for the peace that the images evoked in me.

We now turn to other important exhibitions in Kolkata. The Centre of International Modern Art, or CIMA art gallery as it is popularly referred to, is celebrating two decades of its existence with a group show titled Transition. The gallery, which was launched in 1993, offers art lovers an anniversary show featuring artworks that reflect ‘the changing landscape of Indian art over almost a century’. The list includes virtually every renowned name in the Indian art world — beginning with Rabindranath Tagore, it showcases the works of artists who have, over the years, made Indian art internationally famous. The exhibition is on till January 25.

This is certainly the time for annual shows in Kolkata. The Academy of Fine Arts concluded its 78th annual exhibition on January 5, while the Birla Academy of Art and Culture’s 47th annual exhibition will be on till February 2. The annual art exhibition by Weavers Studio Centre for the Arts features a group show of artists from all over India, while Gallerie La Mere offers works by renowned artists from Bengal, including Jogen Chowdhury, Rabin Mondal, Wasim Kapoor and Ganesh Haloi among others.

There is also a rather special exhibition of artworks by British artist Samuel Davis (1760-1819) at the Victoria Memorial that deserves mention and should be included in the itinerary of visitors to Kolkata. The paintings by this amateur artist were created during his visit to India and Bhutan, and are beautifully rendered in watercolour. In fact, we might say that this ‘amateur’ could well put many professionals to shame by the high quality of his workmanship.

(The writer is an author and a former art gallery owner)

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