Showcasing the might of Bengal's stalwarts

Art exhibit

Two fine examples of how your artistic sensibilities are shaped by environs you grow up in are highlighted in an art show in the capital which focuses on the oeuvre of Bengal’s modernist stalwarts - Lalu Prasad Shaw and Ganesh Pyne who had many commons between them, but the language they expressed in were completely disparate.

While Shaw spent his formative years in rural Bengal and was surrounded by farming and peasantry culture, Pyne was born in cosmopolitan city of Kolkata and witnessed the painful time of Partition. These events left a lasting impression on their lives and art.

Their works have been juxtaposed in the exhibition “Ganesh Pyne and Lalu Prasad Shaw: Two Faces of Bengal Modernism” by Kolkata-based gallery, Centre of International Modern
Art (CIMA) and are displayed at Visual Arts Gallery till February 6.

“Shaw’s work is inspired by local moorings. He was much simple in his work and his language was direct and simple. His lines are measured and he knew where to draw a line,” Rakhi Sarkar, director, CIMA gallery and curator of the show, tells Metrolife.

“Pyne was exposed to literature and Western art philosophy and had a liberal, city kind of upbringing. His work was in tune with Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore, which was universal in appeal,” she adds.

The show includes 33 works by Pyne and 23 works by Shaw and according to Sarkar the two artists “sort of coexisted and represented critical changes of modern India through their works”.

“By juxtaposing two very dissimilar contemporaries, the exhibition points to the two parallel and dominant intellectual forces that shaped the visual language of modern Bengal, both addressing the concerns of tradition and modernity differently yet decisively,” says Sarkar.
Both artists with tempera, but the way they used the medium was different.

“Shaw’s works were ingenious where as Pyne’s work was multi-layered and complex,” she says.

“If Pyne was inspired by Rembrandt, Shaw took to Company School which was popular in 18th and 19th century. But he simplified their composition,” she adds.

The exhibition Ganesh Pyne and Lalu Prasad Shaw: Two Faces of Bengal Modernism will be on at Visual Arts Gallery till February 6.

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