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Glimpses of India’s art history shine from Past to Present

A painting by Paramesh Paul

A painting by Paramesh Paul
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Past to Present, an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by legendary names in the country, has come to Bengaluru courtesy Smita Art, a Kolkata-based art institution.

Coming to the city for the first time, Smita Art has presented works by great masters from different eras of India’s art history. Aptly titled, Past to Present, the exhibition curated by Smita Chakraverty, Amartya Chakraverty and Amit Mitra, showcases the works of Bengal masters, Indian masters and contemporary artists.

According to Ajit Thakur from Smita Art who organised Past to Present, the purpose of this exhibition was to create an awareness about the wonderful works by various artists who are a part of India’s legacy in the art world.

“For our first show in South India, we chose Bangalore over Mumbai or Hyderabad as it has a cosmopolitan crowd. We wanted to project art from different art periods — the past includes Bengal and Indian masters such as Rabindranath Tagore and MF Hussain, while the present showcases art by the likes of Sachin Sagare, Umakant Kannade and Paresh Hazra,” says Ajit.

A painting by Dhiren Sashmal

A painting by Dhiren Sashmal
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Since most of the works at the exhibition belong to private collections or Smita Art, many of the paintings are not for sale, adds Ajit. “These works are a part of our heritage so our aim was to show them here, as not many of these works have been displayed outside Kolkata,” he says.

Sure enough, the walls adorned with works by some of the nation’s art royalty — from sepia-tinted Roerich and aging Jamini Roy pieces to the bold strokes and colours by Tyeb Mehta and Murali Nagapuzha — are so entrancing, you’ll find yourself lingering far longer than you thought you would. Acrylic on canvas works by Kaushik Paul and Amit Bhar put photographs to shame given the clarity of minute details such as a blade of grass or the rays of sunshine emanating from beyond the clouds.

Also on display at Past to Present are sculptures by Subrata Paul, Somnath Chakraborty and others. While bronze pieces such as Recharge and Security by Pradip Sur evoke thought, one can only marvel at the detailing on the bronze ghat miniatures crafted by Chandan Roy.

Since it is not always that one gets to view different facets of artistic brilliance at such close quarters, it would be a shame to miss out on Past to Present.

Past to Present by Smita Art, Kolkata, will be on display at Bangalore International Centre till November 28. Entry free.

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