Stuti Laha works, most of all, coral, a shade of orange tinged with pink and red. She uses it in her figurative works, diluting it to make the tones duller or dark when needed. To her, art lies in the simple things, as she recreates scenes from the lives of the advasis. "Simple things, daily chores, like cooking, cleaning, a make-up ritual, weaving, feeding birds, or just sitting still, doing nothing at all. These inspire me," says Stuti, whose solo show, Coral Lights, will make its debut here at gallery g, bringing the city a rare chance to see the Bengal School of Art. "There is something intriguing about the Bengal School of Art," says Gitanjali Maini, founder, gallery g. "Since our visitors in Bengaluru haven't seem much artwork done in the Bengal style, we have made an effort to not just make the show visually appealing but also informative and educative."
Stuti's day job is at the Archaeological Survey of India, as an art restorer. Coral is the primary shad eshe finds there, the Bengal Style is made up of earthy colour tones, slim figures with oriental features, delicate strokes, thin outlines and a very thin application of colour on a canvas, silk cloth or board. Stuti's works are inspired by Chinese traditions, done on silk cloth and using the wash technique.
A 'wash' is a visual arts technique that helps produce a semi transparent layer of colour. Usually only one or two colours of wash are used and normally requires a large amount of solvent with little paint. The combination of paint and solvent can make the washes brittle and fragile. However, when gm arabic water colour washes are applied to a highly absorbent surface, such as paper, the effects are long lasting.
The primary theme of Stuti's show, which comprises 19 works, is the life of Adivasis. There are, however, three paintings of nature and botany, "water lilies, which I added to show the diversity of my style of work," says Stuti. None of the works are very large - the largest is around 37 x 20 inches. "I prefer not to work on large backdrops as my subject is somewhat different and doesn't involve landscapes," she explains.
The Bengal School of Art, commonly referred to as the Bengal School, was an art mmovement that began in the early 20th centuries. It originated primarily in Kolkata and Shantiniketan and, known in its early days as the 'Indian style of painting', became associated with Indian nationalism, ed by Abanindranath Tagore. It rose as an avant garde movement that reacted against academic styles previously promoted in India, by British art schools and renowned Indian artists like Raja Ravi Varma. Some of the best known contemporary artists, who belong to the Bengal School are Jogen Chowdhury, Mrinal Kanti Das, Manishi Dey and Shanu Lahiri.