Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rhythm of Colours: Painting expo at Wellington House

To pay homage to Jamini Roy, one of the most versatile and influential painters of the 20th century from West Bengal, the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Mysore, has organised an exhibition titled ‘Rhythm of Lines and Colours’ at Wellington House on Irwin road where the paintings of Jamini Roy are on display till Feb. 5. The 41 paintings which are on display here in city will later be displayed at Bhopal. Entry is free and public can view these colorful paintings daily between 10 am and 5.30 pm.
About the artist
Jamini Roy, born in a middle-class family in 1887 at Bengal, invented the new style of painting with dramatic and dynamic delineation which is a source of joy and tranquility to the posterity. His father Ramataran Roy was also an amateur artist.
He studied at the Government School of Art in Calcutta in 1903. He was taught to paint in the prevailing academic tradition drawing classical nudes and painting in oils. In 1908, he received his Diploma in Fine Art. He learnt the academic methods then in vogue in the West and achieved his early fame as a portrait painter in the European tradition.
However, he realised that he needed to draw inspiration not from Western tradition but from his own culture, and cultivated a personal painting style inspired largely by traditional Indian folk and village arts, particularly those of Bengal. Jamini Roy, through his oil paintings, gave expression to the scenes of everyday life of the people of rural Bengal.
This gifted artist Jamini Roy moved away from his earlier impressionist landscapes and portraits; and between 1921-1924 he began his first period of experimentation with the Santhal, as he was very much influenced by the work of Santhals and their simple art. His new style was both a reaction against the Bengal School and the Western tradition. He used to propose his own paintings from indigenous materials like lampblack, chalk-powder, leaves and creepers.
Jamini Roy used to select themes from joys and sorrows of everyday life of rural Bengal, religious theme like Ramayana, Sri Chaitanya, Radha-Krishna and Jesus Christ, but he depicted them without narratives. He conveyed the message with evocative line and simple form which is understandable by all. His large painting of Jesus Christ, Krishna, Balaram and Radhika in tribhanga posture, assumes sculpturesque quality.
The thick precise outline as well as multi-coloured lines enclosing the figures, the bright wide eyes recall the traditional Kalighat patachitra, wooden figures, earthen alhadi putul and terracotta plaques of the temples of Bankura and Vishnupur as well as the mural paintings of Europe, France and Spain.
Some of his famous paintings are: Santhal Boy with Drum, Cats Sharing a Prawn, St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin, Makara, Cats Plus, Seated Woman in Sari, Krishna And Radha Dancing, Kitten, Virgin And Child, Crucifixion with Attendant Angels, Ravana, Sita And Jatayu, Warrior King, Krishna with Gopis in Boat, Krishna and Balarama.
His work has been exhibited extensively in international exhibitions and can be found in many private and public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The original collection of his paintings are on permanent display at the Indian Museum in Kolkata, as he spent most of his life living and working in Calcutta.
In 1934, he received a Viceroy’s gold medal in an all India exhibition for one of his works. The expositions of Jamini Roy’s works were first held in British India Street (Calcutta) in 1938. Jamini Roy’s pictures became very popular during the 1940s and clientele included both the Bengali middle class and European community.
In 1946, his work was exhibited in London and in 1953 in New York. Jamini Roy was honored with Padma Bhushan in 1955. He passed away in 1972 in Calcutta.
Roy’s awe-inspiring body of work has made him one of the most influential Modern Indian Painters. His art is accessible for a wider section of people and he gave Indian art its own identity. He freed his style, form and colour from the conventional artistic bounds and ushered in a new era in the trend of modern art.

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