Two countries, one Gurudev | Culture | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Story without words
    July 20, 2013
    Virender Singh, the deaf and mute wrestler with an impressive list of wins, is the hero of a documentary, 'Goonga Pehelwan'.
  • The return of mohabbat
    July 13, 2013
    Romance returns in its vintage form to Bollywood.
  • Shorts
    July 13, 2013
    We present to you an exciting potpourri of cultural news.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy

Two countries, one Gurudev


Nasreen Begum is inspired by Tagore's poem on falling leaves.

A few weeks ago, the Lalit Kala Akademi's basement gallery in Delhi was transformed. Barely had the formalities of the opening ceremony ended when eight handpicked artists from Bangladesh donned paint-stained overalls, head scarves and flip flops and began to tear off the polythene sheets covering the blank canvases on which they were to create their personal homage to Rabindranath Tagore.

The exhibition of their work is part of an Indo-Bangladesh collaboration to mark the 150th anniversary of the poet, painter, musician and philosopher. As coats of primer were applied, the team settled into a comfortable rhythm, adjusting their easels to catch the light, sipping cups of tea, and calling out to each other like friends - Abdul bhai, Iqbal, Eunus bhai.

Over the week, various portraits capturing different aspects of Tagore and his place in the history of Bengal began to emerge. Many of the artists have painted Tagore before. "This is the 68th portrait of Rabindranath that I'm doing now, " claimed Abdul Mannan whose first work was commissioned for the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, in 1993. "As the set painter for Bangladesh Television, the official telecast media, I was called upon to make 54 portraits of Rabindranath, showing his likeness from his early childhood to the end, for the prestigious series on Rabindra Sangeet featuring Bangladesh's nightingale Sanjida Khatun Begum. " In order to keep mindless repetition at bay, Mannan reads as many of Tagore's writings as he can - the Rabindra Rachanabali as well as off-beat sources such as the Calcutta Municipal Gazette.

Other artists, like Nasreen Begum and Ahmed Shamsuddoha, have found inspiration in Tagore's love of nature. Doha's work began with a playful depiction of a winter sky in Bengal. This was followed by a sprawl of unkempt greenery as a bottom spread, and suddenly, with an almost mystic sensuality, the shadowy form of the poet emerged gauze-like from a corner of the canvas. Doha then drew his own portrait, as a dwarf-like bespectacled figure gazing up at the shadow image. "The idea struck me to paint Rabindranath as if he were not there, " he explains. "For me he is a harihar atma (evergreen soul) and this piece reminds me of his lyric megher upor megh jomechhey (cloud upon cloud in the heavens). "

At the other end, Nasreen Begum hums snippets of the lyric Jhara paataa goh, tomaderi dauley (fallen leaves, I am one of your kind) while painting a riot of fallen leaves. "My work is based on Tagore's poem on fallen leaves, " she says. "I like to conceive of it as a form that crystalises life through its various stages. Tagore taking centre space is a change in my art, for I like to portray the feminine form in this way. "

Elsewhere, in the works of Mohd Iqbal and Mohd Eunus, a Japanese idiom surfaces. "My inspiration, " says Eunus, who has painted a riverine landscape, "came from Tagore's composition about the dusky maiden whom he compares to a blossom unfolding. She emerges from behind gathering clouds and my concentration is focused on her eyes. The face comes to life through the eyes as it serves as the mirror of her soul. "

Heavily textured surfaces are the hallmark of the art of Gholam Farouk Bebul and Hamiduzzaman Khan. In Bebul's work, which was influenced by Tagore's literary piece, Diner Sheshe (At the end of the day), Gurudev's bearded face peers through tones of grey-blue-aqua and hints of orange, whereas Hamiduzzaman's canvases are like chiseled creations, with the backdrop 'etched' in minute brush strokes and the Tagorean form a flowing study of seamless lines wafting across the textured surface.
Sheikh Afzal Hossain's painting has the earthy colours of Bangladesh's soil. "My colour palette is a direct result of the tones of Bangladesh's swollen rivers, its soil, and its landscape, " he says. "Thus my earthy tonal choice is the praan of the portrait. So when I started the portrait I did not first begin with the features. I created the background in these shades, and then the form appeared. "

The organisers plan to take the exhibits countrywide and print a portfolio edition of the works.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service