The attempt is to show how the words of Rabindranath Tagore, Chandogya Upanishad have influenced them.
All of us have something to say and words have tremendous power to change. To showcase this power of words and express themselves, two Delhi-based artists, Amrita Ghosh and Subrata Mete, will be showcasing their artworks in an exhibition titled “Amader Katha”, which means “our words”. The attempt is to show how the words of Rabindranath Tagore, Chandogya Upanishad have influenced them. According to Ghosh, the title not only represents what they want to say through art but reflect “not just ourselves but all of us” who are living together and sharing our joys and sorrows together.
The exhibition, which comprises recent paintings, drawings and mixed media works of both artists, will be on from Thursday till Dece-mber 22 at Art Gallery, India International Centre Annexe, New Delhi.
While Ghosh’s works have a clear semi-figurative style with clouds being a dominant element, Mete’s paintings have human figures, stands and gestures — a very relaxed life, which Mete highly enjoyed during his growing up years in West Bengal.
Ghosh’s paintings are interesting and open to interpretations. “I want to show a very peaceful and a beautiful world… the ‘we’ in my paintings could be attributed to my consciousness and imagination,” says Ghosh. So we have “Railgarir gaan” (Song of the Railgadi), oil on canvas where a girl is seen reading poetry and whistling through the window. Her thoughts form clouds in the shape of railway carriages. Then there’s “Seeing You”, where a girl seems lost in the thoughts of her beloved. “Dream Ladder” again shows how one’s imagination is a step towards action, while “Let’s climb the dream ladder” is a tribute to Kashmir’s pellet victims. Ghosh has dedicated this particular painting to the pellet victims where a woman sits on a hospital bed but she still has hope — in the form of dreams, again portrayed very delicately by clouds.
“Diaspora” is mixed media on cloth, while “She and her flower vases” is on canvas. “The Cloud Reminds of When There were no Partition” is thought provoking. It shows a woman lying on grass looking at the clouds with a picture of Hindu-Muslim togetherness. The clouds here take the shape of the map of undivided India (pre-Partition).
Ghosh’s use of clouds in most of her paintings is fascinating. That one element could be interpreted in so many different emotions is praiseworthy.
In The Religion of an Artist, Tagore says, “I still remember the very moment, one afternoon, when coming back from school I alighted from the carriage and suddenly saw in the sky, behind the upper terrace of our house, an exuberance of deep, dark rain clouds fishing rich, cool shadows on the atmosphere. The marvel of it, the very generosity of its presence, gave me a joy which was freedom, the freedom we feel in the love of our dear friend”. Ghosh was very inspired by these words and as a result clouds abound in her works. “Clouds not just represent the freedom I enjoy as an artist but are the bearer of many fond memories and spread the message of love,” explains Ghosh.
The peculiar thing to note in Mete’s works is his use of the colour green. His paintings show humans gifted in green, which symbolises “life, energy, freshness and fertility”, says Mete. In “Ravanhatta”, Mete shows the bow instrument that’s played by folk artists of Rajasthan.
Two of his paintings are inspired by Michelangelo’s “Expulson” and “Pieta”. Mete’s “Expulsion” shows a person in silhouette throwing a man and a woman out of his house, identical to the fall of Adam and Eve. While the original “Pieta” depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the crucifixion, Mete’s rendition is simple, showing a mother carrying the body of her son, shown in green.
Mete also depicts our craze of clicking selfies in “Selfie”, where a woman wearing a sari clicks selfies on the balcony of her house. Also inspired by our mythology is “Abduction”, which shows Ravana fighting with Jatayu after abducting Sita, and “Birth of Krishna”.
“We have tried to keep our work simple so that everyone can understand and relate to it,” explains Mete. Both artists emphasise on lines which blend with colour creating a harmony. While Ghosh focuses on the rhythm of life, Mete works on our normal day-to-day lives. The duo is influenced by pre-Mughal sculptures, terracotta figurines and traditional and folk art.
Drawings like “Joy” (ink on paper), “Shubhodrishti” (charcoal and dry pastel on paper) and a few untitled works celebrate our daily life — its simplicity and liveliness.
Ghosh says, “We have tried to put our heart and soul into these paintings and sketches. A work of art is not complete until it is experienced and responded to by a viewer”.
The words spoken by these two artists through their works is worth giving a try. The visual language — line, colour, form, composition and space — could make you connect with their ideas, feelings and emotions.