the-south-asian Life & Times                       July-Sep 2011





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Dinkar Kowshik

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 Modern Indian

 60 Years of Indian


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Dinkar Kowshik – A Life Truly Lived

1918 – 2011

By Bhaiya da (Santiniketan)

 A sensitive master painter, a prolific writer, and a perceptive teacher, Dinkar Kowshik, passed on in February this year in Santiniketan – a place he was closely attached to – a place where his creativity was nurtured as a student, and where, he in turn, nurtured the talent of many painters in the past four decades that he lived there. He brought a fresh and a positive stimulus to Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan when he took over as the principal of one of the most celebrated art campuses in the world. This was the time when both Binode da and Kinker da came into their elements again - and he got some of the great minds in art to move to Santiniketan. Somenath Hore, K.G Subramanyan, Sharbari Rai Choudhuri and others came to the institution to give it a new life and the original creative edge.

A quiet and an unassuming person, Dinkar exuded calmness and happiness – so visible on his canvasses too.  According to Prof. R. Sivakumar, Professor of History of Art at Santiniketan, “His art is best described as spontaneous; he infuses lyrical grace into whatever he paints, be it everyday objects or quasi-geometric abstractions. His figures are shaped by geometry, but by a geometry that gives them an effortless simplicity and makes them light rather than rigid. His geometric abstractions are constructed not like stern architectonic edifices but like lace woven to geometrical perfection. His paintings reveal an awareness of the trajectories of modern art but he seems to have willfully chosen not to burden them with his knowledge; chosen to soothe the senses of his viewers rather than challenge their wits and to add a little delight to their life than to make them confront the harsher side of life.” Something similar can also be said about his writings on art. “His books are not dense scholarly tomes but texts written with the ease and flow of civilised conversation, and make history accessible. His ‘Age and Image' is still a good and short introduction to the long and complex tradition of Indian art. His other books mostly on Santiniketan, its art and its personalities combine history with anecdotes and personal impressions usefully. As an author he clearly wanted to reach out to the layman and not limit himself to the professional.”

Dinkar was an aspiring student at Santiniketan during the golden era of Kala Bhavan.  “Nandalal Bose was at the height of his powers. Ramkinkar and Benode Behari were beginning to peak as artists of definitive individuality. Santiniketan was then the most happening place on the Indian art scene. Sankho Chowdhury, Jaya Appaswamy, Deviprasad Gupta, Rudrappa Hanji, Satyajit Ray, Prithwish Neogy, and Dinkar Kowshik were contemporaries. His passing on is in a way also the end of a golden era of art.

Bhaiya Da, of Santiniketan, traces the journey of Dinkar Kowshik from Dharwar, in Maharashtra, to Santiniketan in West Bengal – from the place of his birth to the ‘place of his rebirth.’

    Read the entire article in the print copy of
The South Asian Life & Times






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