The journey of locomotives

Heritage express

The journey of locomotives

It was when five-year-old Kishore Pratim Biswas used to visit his uncle who drove and managed steam locomotives, that he fell in love with them.

Later, as he completed his fine art studies in 1992, the steam locomotives were slowly replaced by electric and diesel locomotives.

“Locomotives are my fantasy. When I saw that locomotives are becoming obsolete and are a part of the museum, it was shocking for me. From that time onwards, I started exploring the theme because it is very close to my heart,” Biswas says.

That is how the Mumbai-based artist describes his latest collection. The nostalgia of the steam locomotives which were running in front of him with the whistling and steaming
made him conceptualise his art.

“I used to go to the locomotive workshop day after day to study them from a close view. The locomotives had a giant appearance of the black body with the white steam around it. It was a dramatic visual experience for me,” recollects the 44-year-old.

“For years, I woke up at midnight and started painting impromptu. I still find that very gratifying,” he adds.

Biswas recalls that his initial portraits were of his firemen and driver friends at the locomotive workshop.

“All the time, they looked very dark because of the dust of coal. Yet, their faces always had an interesting sprite of life, which always inspired me to draw their portrait. They never had any complain about their hard life,” says Biswas.

Sketching their faces and appearance with pen and ink, charcoal, soft pastel and pencil in the backdrop of locomotives, Biswas avers that though sticking to a theme might be difficult but the traditional steam locomotives “still have a legacy” which is definitely beyond museums.

After quitting his advertising career to be a full-time artist, he now only concentrates in bringing his “memory on canvas”.

“Though it takes 15-20 hours to complete a painting, I take around six months because I have to concentrate on the textures, the characters, the smoke and the reflection of the locomotive, all from my memories and imagination,” says Biswas.

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