When Gallery Time and Space presented a group show of the Society of Contemporary Artists (SCA), titled Journey Envisioned, it opened up a world of glorious perspectives. The art show is an eclectic mix of the contemporaries of Bengal. The ensemble makes for an impressive artist list — Lalu Prasad Shaw, Aditya Basak, Akhil Chandra Das, Bimal Kundu, Ganesh Haloi, Manu Parekh and several others. The Society of Contemporary artists was formed in 1960 by artists like, Somnath Hore, Shyamal Dutta Ray, Nikhil Biswas and a few others.
The initial formation of the group was propelled by the need for appropriate facilities and the need for an independent space for the younger artists to display their works.
Sooner than one could imagine, veteran artists like Ganesh Pyne, Ganesh Haloi and Lalu Prasad Shaw joined the society which gave impetus for further achievements and goals. The next few years were crucial for all as they developed path-breaking styles. While we move on to the show, these oeuvres make for an impressive series of works by everyone. The wow quotient is evident in each work on display.
Be it the colourfully exuberant canvases of Lalu Prasad Shaw or the stunning sculptures by Akhil Chandra Das. Lalu Prasad Shaw is well known for his emphatic and vibrant portraits. With hard-edge reflection and period-style figuration, Shaw has earned his name and distinction by staying dependable to the past convention in Indian art with hints of its colonial past. His painted characters communicate with calibrated expressiveness by his picked style which is inspired from a time when Indian artists were drafted to paint to address issues of colonial rulers. In Aditya Basak’s work, it is clear that, it is heraldic and conjures up a painter’s vision.
In the history of modernism in Bengal, Basak is counted amongst the most successful artists of the younger generation. More importantly, despite continuing to adhere to some of the idioms of Bengali modernism, Basak is among the few who strive to traverse the bridge between modernist and post-modern art practice. Another sculptor whose works impress are Akhil Chandra Das.
Strong masculine bronze figures with an originality to match, Das’ works are nothing short of stellar. Das says, “My work, The Shelter is an ode to my teaching profession. I always tend to indulge in art talk, and walk with my students and they consider me their ‘shelter’ under which they are nurtured. The male form with wings is evident in the works I carry forward.”