The lockdown may have disrupted the lives of many but for artist Swaroop Mukerji, it’s been his most productive week. With no guests dropping by and nowhere to step out, Mukerji has been able to finish a canvas and start work on two others. By the time the lockdown is over, he hopes to have a corona collection that would reveal vignettes of life in a city when it was on pause mode.
“The lockdown has provided me with an opportunity to concentrate on the canvas. I start in the morning and am fully immersed in painting as long as I can. It has taken me seven days to complete the first canvas, much quicker than I would probably have had the lockdown not been in place. The absence of distraction has provided me with the leisure to do what I love,” recounted Mukerji.
The painting that he has completed, titled ‘Ballygunge Pavement Eatery’, depicts a man seated on a bench, peeling a vegetable in the company of a mongrel. Mukerji says he has been aware of the man, who runs a pavement eatery opposite Ballygunge Science College, for several years. “I would often pass the eatery and see the man, Subhas, and the dog. It was perhaps the equanimity with which he carried on with his life, unhindered by the hustle and bustle on the road, that drew my attention,” he said.
While the man may have been difficult to sight when life went on as usual, the lockdown has made his presence conspicuous on the deserted street. “While we may have been hassled by the lockdown, he appeared unnerved and as composed as ever. What struck me was the diligence and dignity of the man and the obvious loyalty of his pet. I hope I have been able to get this across in the painting,” the artist said.
The Sunny Park resident, who was invited by APJ Abdul Kalam to do a series on Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2004 when he was President, and has even done a series on Raj Bhavan in Kolkata in 2008 on former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s request, hopes to present his artwork at an exhibition in London once the battle against coronavirus is over.
Source: Times of India