The call of the wild

Concern for our diminishing forests and wildlife probably couldn’t have been expressed better in art. Fragmented Earth - The Last Call - a thoughtful exhibition by artist Gopal Samantray is being displayed at the Art Konsult gallery, Hauz Khas Village.

The artist, a native of the green and beautiful Orissa, has interestingly portrayed the plight of wild birds and animals, rendered homeless by deforestation and forced to encroach on city space. 

Gopal Samantray did his Masters in Fine Arts from BK College of Art, Bhubaneswar and his works have been recently auctioned at institutions like Art Bull Autumn Auction (2011, Delhi) and Plan India Auction (2012, Pune). He was also awarded the BK College of Art award twice and the Trust for Regeneration of Environment and Economy (TREE) sponsored by ORHDC and HUDCO.

Director, Art Konsult Gallery, Siddharth Tagore, says, “Gopal’s paintings are almost always centred around animals – elephants, gorillas or kites or eagle-like birds. The Bengal tiger and the zebra especially inspire him. We found his concept of ‘animals in the city’ very interesting and decided to showcase his work here.”

“Gopal’s work is realistic, not impressionistic like that of MF Husain and some other recent contemporary artists. The viewer does not need to enter into an intellectual struggle to understand his works. His works are thoughtful, interesting, intelligent and yet easy to understand; and his sensitivity towards animals touches
your heart.”

Speaking about his own creations, Gopal says, “Coming from a state which is fast losing its green cover, the condition of wild animals here always concerned me. We often read of elephants, tigers and leopards venturing into human habitation in newspapers. They are touted as a terror, encroachment and unnecessary nuisance but no one bothers to think how they feel when we plunder their natural habitat.”

“I have tried to do exactly that. I have tried to peep into the mind of a zebra who is standing in the middle of a city road at a zebra crossing; a tiger whose hide has been stripped away and used to decorate furniture, and a leopard who has nowhere to climb on and rest in a city but a lamppost. The forests are gone and trees are replaced by steel in the form of display boards and transformers.”

“I want this exhibition to convey to people that we should stop thinking about ourselves alone and consider the future of these animals as well. Their welfare is our responsibility and the future of the planet rests on us.”   

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