Santiniketan, which has been one of the country’s biggest centres of art movement, has finally got a modern art gallery that even has a cafe.
“The art gallery, ‘Prachi Protichi’, which has a library and a cafe, is the product of our long discourse with our mentor and president of the Prachi Protichi movement Sunil Gangopadhyay since 1999,” said Tapos Mallick.
“Sunil da used to dream of a modern art gallery, with a library and a cafe, where art of all forms from Bengal and Bangladesh could be showcased. He used to insist on closer interactions between artists from ‘both Bengals’,” said Mallick, an acrylic painter.
Santineketan boasts of a rich legacy of artists like Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Binod Behari Mukherjee, Ramkinkar Baij and modern maestros like K G Subhramanyan, Dinkar Kaushik and Jogen Chowdhury. In the absence of a permanent gallery, Gangopadhyay and other stalwarts of the movement, like Somnath Chatterjee and Jamal Ahmed, used to display works of artists from both Bengal and Bangladesh in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Dhaka.
“The Prachi Protichi exhibition became our annual event,” a member said.
While visiting the gallery, artist and Rajya Sabha member Jogen Chowdhury admitted that Santiniketan has needed a gallery since long. “I used to think of a pedestrians’ gallery along the sidewalks in Santiniketan. But nothing had been done. There was definitely a void. This gallery will compensate for that. But I will urge the authorities to showcase the artwork of students of Kala Bhavana, the school of art at Visva-Bharati University which recently turned 60, along with those of established artists,” Chowdhury said.
“We have started with two galleries, but we plan to expand into a much bigger gallery. We have tried to conform to international standards pertaining to lighting, projection and other facilities,” said Mallick, who is also the CEO of the gallery.
Parchi Protichi plans to take the art movement to the common man’s doorstep.
“We plan to host an ‘affordable summer show’, where paintings and sculptures of both the new and established artists will be sold at low prices. The idea is to instil into a new buyer the pride that art aficionados experience while buying a masterpiece,” Mallick said.
Source: Times of India