Calcutta Chromosome

Artist Gopal Ghose's works that depict both

West Bengal's rural-scape and its momentous events are on display at NGMA.

Be it a painting of a fisherman's shack or a sketch of a bird sitting atop a tree, the many untitled works of renowned Bengal artist Gopal Ghose on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art, depict his fondness for nature and the rural landscape.

An ongoing exhibition "Gopal Ghose A Jubilant Quest for the Chromatic" is celebrating the artist's birth centenary, showcasing more than 200 of his works. Ghose is regarded as one of the founding forces of the Calcutta Group, which was probably the first group of modernist painters in India.

The show is curated by Sanjoy Kumar Mallik, who became fascinated with Ghose's works while documenting the visual arts of the '40s for his doctoral research. "I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to examine his works, which have been carefully preserved by his family at his residence in Kolkata," says Mallik.

Apart from landscapes, Ghose's paintings have a grim lining too: both the Bengal famine of 1943 and the communal riots of 1946 find a place on his canvas. Violence is often depicted in his paintings in bright colours such as red and orange. In one of his untitled paintings, a building is shown in flames.

"Ghose belonged to a period that was a transitory moment for India. This was the time when artists were looking for a new language, in terms of absolute freedom of line and colours," says Mallik.

It's been three decades since Ghose died but his works, characterised by an extensive use of calligraphic lines and vibrant colours, have carried on his legacy.

The exhibition is on till January 20.

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