AUGUST    2001
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 Traditional societies - Wisdom and Challenges
Isabel Allende


 Hands Across Borders
- Bringing south Asia closer



 Sunil Dutt


 Shantiniketan and origin  of  Modern Art
Vijay Kowshik

Modern Idiom in Pakistan's Art
Niilofur Farrukh

Contemporary Art of  Bangladesh


Reinventing India
Mira Kamdar


Sufis - the  poet-saints 
Salman Saeed


Music Gharanas & Generation 2000
Mukesh Khosla


The First People - Wanniyala Aetto of Sri Lanka and Jarawa of Andaman
Nalini Bakshi


Royal Bengal's last roar?
Dev Duggal


the craft shop

the print gallery


Page  3  of  4

Shantiniketan and the Origin of Modern Art in India.
(continued from previous page)


Vijay Kowshik

Binodebihari Mukherjee

Shantiniketan was evolving and the interactions with various personalities who visited the place were helping in the evolution. The interactions with the Japanese master Kakuzo Okakura were a major force in this evolution. The creativity at Kala Bhavan remained charged and strengthened with the arrival of talented and gifted teachers. In the mid 1920s, two great minds, Binodebihari Mukherjee and Ram Kinkar Baij joined the Art School. 

Binodebihari (1904 - 1980) joined Shantiniketan as a student in 1917 and as faculty in 1925. Originally from Behala, a small town in Bengal, he was the most brilliant student of Nandalal and had a strong identity of his own. His style of teaching was to enhance and encourage the strengths of individual students, nurturing the development of their own vocabulary. He has created great works of art in the tempera medium, though his works in other medium are no less commendable. His analysis and overview of the principles of beauty in art is very important, straightforward and devoid of uncertainty and ambiguity. His works are highly sensitive, with an inner strength of character and sincerity. They have a sense of congruence to his feelings and experiencing them brings one close to the qualities of his self. Despite his partial visual handicap, Binodebihari rose to be acknowledged as one of India's finest painters. Satyajit Ray, the renowned filmmaker, had studied under Binodebihari [1940-42], and in 1972 made a film about him - 'The Inner Eye'.


Ramkinkar (1910 -1980) also joined as faculty in 1925. Coming from the small town of Bankura, Ramkinker was brought to Shantiniketan because of his genius and the spark in him. He also became one with the place. Ramkinkar had the grit to maintain his inherited identity while creating the essentials of the new environment. While a relentless effort was on to develop an Indian idiom that could relate to its traditional forms, Ramkinkar sought his own direction without bothering about past traditions, though having his roots intact. His was a very personal style, which had so much to offer to posterity. He studied life around him, introducing a bold and virile realism. His works (sculptures, paintings and graphics) are characteristic of strength of form, lines and virility of thought. They give a feeling of tremendous energy and exuberance and are strongly vital, reaching out for the light.

A fascinating aspect at Shantiniketan was the close relationship between the faculty and the students. Binode da and Kinker da, as they were lovingly addressed, were major moulders of the contemporary art scene in India. They have very major works to their credit, which have become the heritage treasures of the country. They were also instrumental in the subsequent development of their students. Among their students, Sankho Chaudhuri and K.G Subramanyan developed the Baroda school of art; Dinkar Kowshik and Jaya Appasamy developed the Delhi school of art. Jaya Appasamy, after studying art at Shantiniketan, studied at Peking and Oberlin college USA. She was the editor of the publications of Lalit Kala Akademi and also authored various books. She was known as a serious art critic. Krishna Reddy, who has a hand in the development of the Graphics Department at the New York University, was also a student at Shantiniketan during this time.

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