Sunday, June 20

Farmer’s struggle on canvas in Calcutta

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The painter’s brush has rallied behind the farmer’s plough at an ongoing art exhibition in the city.

A series of paintings and sculptures on display at a gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts speak of the turbulent times in the context of the long-standing farmers’ protests on the borders of Delhi.

An acrylic on canvas shows a farmer woman, with sad but piercing eyes, holding out a fresh-looking vegetable in one hand. The other hand embraces a child. The thought behind the painting — farmers do not keep their best produce, not even for their own children. They give it to the  consumer.ADVERTISING

An oil painting shows the subject in an almost supine posture, her body marked by many bruises, some of them very fresh. She represents “wounded and tortured farmers”. Next to it, another painting shows a “corporate hand” tapping a plough, triggering a protest in the form of raised fists.

Two artworks at the exhibition. A terracotta sculpture, made by Ram Kumar Manna, shows a farmer with a skeletal torso.Bishwarup Dutta

Firmly with farmers — on canvas, an art exhibition, is being organised by Prachi Protichi, a cultural organisation. The exhibition, which started on Monday and will end on February 21, features the works of over 20 artistes, including the likes of Jogen Chowdhury, Hiran Mitra and Subrata Ganguly.

“This exhibition is our humble tribute to farmers. The canvasses mirror the revolutionary times that we are living in,” said a curatorial note of the exhibition.

On one of the walls, an acrylic painting shows a plough and its shadow, under the gaze of farmers. The canvas also has drops of blood. The background is “chaotic”. Instead of trailing the plough, the shadow is on the front so that the “viewer cannot escape the reality”.

A terracotta sculpture sits on a table beside the painting. The figure is that of a skeletal farmer, his face writhing in pain.

“Humans, who were dependent on hunting, took to farming for a permanent supply of food. That was tens of thousands of years ago. Till date, there is no alternative to farming. In a way, all of us are descendants of farmers and have farmers’ blood flowing in our veins…. This exhibition is in solidarity with the farmers’ protest,” said Tapos Mallick, the founder-secretary of Prachi Protichi.

Author Swapnamoy Chakraborty, one of the guests at the inauguration of the exhibition, said farmers had never got social respect.

“During my time in the radio, there was a programme on farmers. It was called Chashi-bhai der jonno…. We never address doctors and lawyers as brothers but addressing a farmer or a weaver as brother is acceptable,” said Chakraborty.

Source: TimesofIndia

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