Here’s an exhibition that explores diverse human expressions through charcoal drawings.
The use of charcoal in artworks is a regular phenomenon. Yet, in recent times, it has dwindled with the advent of digital art. However, an irreplaceable speciality of charcoal is that it brings a certain amount of earthiness to paintings.
In an attempt to revitalise the style, an exhibition called ‘Journey of Life’ was recently organised at the India International Centre in the Capital. The exhibition was a solo show that exhibited the works of Arun Kumar Chatterjee. These primarily comprised of drawings, made using charcoal, that highlighted the various moods of life. He uses charcoal because it is inexpensive and readily availible.
In a candid chat with the artist, he reveals that the idea of the exhibition came to him from a certain monetary crises where people had money, but it was of no use to them as they lacked access to cash.
Picasso inspires Arun, but that hasn’t stopped him from losing originality. He says, “My works have my style only. My style has a face and every face has its own feelings.” On the subject of difficulty in expressing emotions in art, he comments, “feelings are important to impact your artwork. If you see Picasso’s works, you have feelings.”
An interesting element the artist uses is the presence of white vertical lines, as if to divide a work in multiple pieces, which depict a sense of imprisonment and separation from the subject’s point of view. The other interesting aspect is the subtle use of charcoal to intensify the piece. One of the visitors at the exhibition also pointed out that the paintings are easy to look at as they demand very little from the onlooker; the works are subtle and refined in their presentation.
A recent scenario has occurred where politics has started to influence art. When asked about his views on the scenario, Arun comments, “Politics is another part and artists make art for the society. Politics is different but artists must make things that are influenced by society.”
Many artists tend to have a mental block but Arun is not fazed by such things, on which he comments, “My concept is very different. My work is for society and every time I just think about society's problems and paint.”
He gives a few words of advice for aspiring artists saying that it does not matter whether the works are big or small, but what matters is that they have quality. He concludes the conversation by specifying that artists should have their own museums rather than galleries. He then concludes, “If artists make their own museum, maybe the art world would be different.”