"Kalighat Recreated" an exhibition of Kalighat paintings at Art of the Earth, F-213 A, 1st Floor, Lado Sarai > 4th-24th November 2011

Time : 0
Monday to Saturday : 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sunday : 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Entry : Free

Place : Art of the Earth, F-213 A, 1st Floor, Lado Sarai, New Delhi - 110030
Venue Info : www.artsoftheearthindia.com | Nearest Metro Station - 'Saket'
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Event Details : 'Kalighat Recreated' an exhibition of Kalighat paintings.
Kalighat paintings originated in Bengal with the patua artists, as a local artistic tradition.
The bazaar painters around the famous Kalighat temple adapted this style to produce works for the visiting devotees. The golden age of Kalighat art spans from the mid nineteenth century up until the 1920's.
Many scroll painters and potters who had settled around Kalighat temple after migrating from rural Bengal, contributed heavily to this form of painting. The most appealing part of Kalighat paintings was the wonderful gestures, flawless rhythmic strokes and superior quality brushwork. Kalighat paintings got quite popular because of its strong social themes. Like most other Indian art forms, Kalighat paintings too started on a
religious note. Hindu deities and their incarnations were common themes painted by the patuas as souvenirs for the visiting pilgrims. With the passage of time, social themes took center stage. The painters were keen observers of life, with a grim sense of humour. They painted scenes of contemporary life in Bengal, often satirical (like the Europeanized Babu and his mistress, trying very hard not to be too Indian), proverbs
and tales (like the cat with the lobster signifying the fat cat priest), and also current newspaper scandals and stories. The wealthy zamindars (landowners) ravishing wine and women, foppish babus spending their days and nights at places of ill repute, a priest or Vaishnav “Guru” living with unchaste women – these were some of the subjects that did not escape the searching eyes of these artists.
Two of the most used themes in Kalighat painting are the Bengali 'Babus' and their hollow, decrepit culture, and also the 'loose women' of the society. Kolkata being the Indian capital at that time, there was close association with the west. Spread of English education and Bengal Renaissance brought noticeable changes in the minds and attitudes of the Bengalis of the time. While some pursued gracious causes, the majority
simply aped the British and came to represent what is known as the 'Babu' culture. A new typology of men and women were created.
These Babus became the butt of social satires and were portrayed with ridicule in contemporary literature and Kalighat paintings. The Bengali ‘babu’ and the 'loose woman' symbolized for them the eroding of traditional Indian values. This satirical gaze at the changing society, altering lifestyles and industrial progress is the distinguishing characteristic of Kalighat paintings.
Brushes were made from squirrel and calf hair. Cheap color pigments were applied in transparent tones, which was totally different from the tradition of Indian tempera. With shaded contours and articulated gesture and movement, the figures attained a plaque-like effect on a neutral unpainted ground. The drawings were bold and attractive and at the same time, their technique different and simple. The intention was to moralize, and the caricatures were drawn in a way so as to deter ordinary people from indulging in such activities.
Kalighat painting was the first of its kind in the Indian subcontinent that expressed subaltern sentiment and addressed customers directly. It is interesting to note that for ages, scholars and critics alike neglected this style of folk painting. The ancient Sanskrit texts largely served as the yardstick for judging the merit of art forms. The written word was considered far more important than pictorial expressions. Rural visual forms on the lines of the Kalighat style were considered degenerate expressions unworthy of any attention, since they lacked the authority of the sacred text.
Kalighat painting started getting its deserved attention and appreciation only in the twentieth century. Traditional Indian art was facing an imminent threat from the aggressive western culture. Thus the preservation of traditional Indian art became a matter of primary concern. Local traditions suddenly assumed supreme importance and there was an acute need for protecting, documenting and reviving rural art. This largely led to Kalighat Paintings coming into the limelight. Since then, it has been recognized as a brilliantly inventive aesthetic movement, and has received significant international attention. Many renowned artists, like Jamini Roy, were greatly influenced by the kalighat art form.
There are different views regarding the character and influence on Kalighat painting. While some opine that they were much influenced by the West, others hold that local technique and social settings are entirely responsible for the Kalighat style. However, it is now acknowledged that Kalighat painting is a legacy that unfolds our past … a past that might have been lost and forgotten, had it not been for these paintings of Kalighat.

Related Events : Paintings & Drawing Exhibitions | Exhibitions
"Kalighat Recreated" an exhibition of Kalighat paintings at Art of the Earth, F-213 A, 1st Floor, Lado Sarai > 4th-24th November 2011 "Kalighat Recreated" an exhibition of Kalighat paintings at Art of the Earth, F-213 A, 1st Floor, Lado Sarai > 4th-24th November 2011 Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Thursday, November 24, 2011 Rating: 5

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