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Amazing visual treat in Kolkata

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

Over the last couple of weeks l was in Kolkata and had the fantastic opportunity to attend solo exhibitions of two talented emerging artists, Shubhankar Singha and Sudipta Adhikari at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Sudipta Adhikary's abstract landscapes are tumultuous and dynamic, making the viewers' eyes travel across the canvas in motions preset by the artist's brushwork. Each painting seems like a different version of Aurora Borealis transferred to the canvas in myriad colors.

Sudipta Adhikari's display of paintings

But his works are not just a delightful dance of colors that dazzle the eye. They have layers of symbolism that are only unearthed by a probing mind. One of his captivating works depicts a woman standing at the edge of a waterbody with outstretched arms, witnessing a flock of swans taking off. In the artist's eye, that is the Goddess Saraswati sending her army of swans to spread wisdom and knowledge around the world.

Loki, one of his rare landscapes bringing multiple colors on a single canvas, can be interpreted as a pathway trodden by footsteps when looked at from a distance. It is as if the mischievous god Loki from Norse mythology has run across the fields and disappeared, leaving the fields glowing in a thousand hues.

While Sudipta's signature style may be called mystic dreamscapes, one exhibit in particular is worth mentioning. Whirling figures of Sufi dancers depicted only in thick black outlines against an earthen background stand out in its bold simplicity.

One incident worth mentioning in this report was about a middle-aged woman. Sudipta noticed her gazing at one of his paintings for a long time. He walked up to her to help her through his artworks. But to his surprise, he was confronted by a pair of teary eyes. She wiped her tears off and said, 'Your painting made me cry. It brought my childhood back in a blink. I can't go leaving my past behind. I want to take this painting along.'

Sudipto refused to negotiate. He wanted to simply gift the painting to her. But she bought the painting paying its worth.

Sudipto says, it was a priceless reward for him as an artist. Following is the photograph of the painting.

Shubhankar Singha is an artist of the new generation who delves into the depths of Hindu mythology, the Vedas, the Mahabharata and the likes to portray known and unknown stories through an artist's lens. His artworks reveal immense research and knowledge, both of which are not common finds anymore.

'Chakravyuh' is one of his recent works that is inspired by the story of Abhimanyu and his heroic did of breaking into the most complicated military formation as mentioned in the Mahabharata, that led to Abhimanyu's tragic fate in the end. Shubhankar's depiction of a bird's eye view of the 'vyuh' on the canvas through the use of strings and his use of colors and symbols to depict the various characters and stories of the Mahabharata are remarkable!

The use of strings and textures is a style that Shubhankar has quite mastered, and it runs across many of his works such as 'Nirvana', 'The Heart under Repair', 'The Chakras' etc., making them tactile and impactful.

Shubhankar Singha's display of paintings

Shubhankar's artworks have the quality of making a viewer stop and think. Left to themselves, viewers can certainly draw their inferences from the endless details packed into each painting but when it comes to the artist's thought process, the explanation might not only take a good amount of time but also break into a full-fledged discussion or debate with a well-versed art connoisseur. An example in point can be the painting called 'The Multiverse', based on an interpretation of the scientific M-theory and also connected to the Vedic Rashmi theory, both of which talk about this universe being made up of nothing but different forms of vibrations, and both providing a concept of 11 dimensions. The layers of concepts injected into this painting and their thoughtful symbolic representation reveal the artist's immaculate research of both, the Vedas as well as Western scientific theories, and also make the viewer think hard to arrive at an understanding.

Shubhankar Singha's paintings can therefore be tagged as intellectual and thought provoking, a quality that has a promise to make this artist go very far in the coming days.

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