Cathartic connect with water

Water colours

I was transferred to Goa for two years when I was working for a company. Living near so much water, I realised that there is also an emotion attached to bathing. I developed these paintings during those two years, ” says Sibabrate Ray, whose collection of paintings on the ‘bathiing ritual’ is on display atthe India Habitat Centre.

Catharsis, as the exhibition is titled, shows people of all age groups, from different strata of society and from different places in India, ‘bathing’.

Some paintings are about a mother and child taking bath, a hermit, a tribal woman, children and many others. Cleaning, scrubbing, scouring and dipping Ray has captured it all on his canvas. Though bathing in a modern bathroom was not portrayed, his collection is more about bathing in the open. Landscapes of Benaras, Goa, West Bengal etc are visible.

Bathing in a pond, lake, river, sea and ocean and even bathing in the dirty Yamuna, Ray painted the waters from all these sources in vivid colours. “Water colour paintings are tough as they mostly have to be remade from scratch in case of any small mistake. So I feel good I made 21 of these pieces depicting different scenes. Also, I wanted the paintings to be made with water colours, just for the mere fact that I was painting water sources,” says Ray.

According to him “Catharsis’ traces life as a journey of innumerable emotions which are
sometimes felt, but not always understood and catharsis, the beautiful path, leads every viewer into a journey of hope, love, courage and emotions which we feel, but not always express.”

Looking deeper into the thought behind each painting, one realises that bathing has a very deep spiritual connection with our mind and bodies. Since centuries it has always been considered sacred, be it for washing off your bad deeds, having a good time or to show respect towards someone. It grabs the essence and beauty of our relation to water. People till date bathe in the holy waters of Ganges to wash their sins, that is the power that it has and that is what Catharsis aims to portray---different ways of expressing repressed emotions through a deep karmic connection with water.

Ray is a Mumbai-based artist who has exhibited his work throughout the country. His work has reached the shores of Japan, UK and other countries. He has held solo exhibitions at Jehangir Art Gallery (Mumbai), Academy of Fine Arts (Kolkata), Green Strokes Art Gallery (Thane), Grindlays Bank (Mumbai) and various other places.

‘Catharsis’ is on display at India Habitat Centre till January 27.

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