My school, my work
Suhrid Mukhopadhayay's works speak of simplicity of the mind and the heart.
I deliberately avoid abstract or cubism. I never wanted to imitate western style of painting.
SIMPLICITY I PAINT One of Suhrid Mukhopadhayay's works mounted at the Lokayata Art Gallery.
So what are our veteran artists from Bengal School of Art doing these days? Some are heard to be silently carrying on with teaching in their schools like Shyamal Dutta Ray and some are innovating compositions, sticking to their roots like Suhrid Mukhopadhayay. A graduate of the 1962 batch of the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta, Suhrid is blending old and new compositions, treating them with different mediums and coming out with what we see as beautiful landscapes, village belle, gods and goddesses and so on.
After quite a long time, a stoic painter, Suhrid, known for his traditional depiction of village life in Bengal on oil and canvas, has just come came up with his exhibition of drawing and paintings at the Lokayata Art Gallery, Mulk Raj Anand Centre in Delhi's Haus Khas Village. The exhibition, that concluded this week, was a fresh diversion from the veteran painter's earlier works as this time most of his paintings were of water colour. Suhrid but couldn't separate himself from serene landscapes and simple village life. Hence, be it a village boy riding on a cow lost in the tunes of his flute amid a dense, green forest, be it lifelike cranes, be it a musically-inclinedvillage family, or some village women playing chapuad in their leisure time, these portray simple life, not compromising with traditional technique though. Neither cubism not any abstract attracted the painter ever. Says Suhrid, also a senior graphic designer, "I deliberately avoid abstract or cubism. I never wanted to imitate western style of painting. I stick to my roots because that is the legacy that I inherit and I wouldn't like to part with it."
Old and new
Though the painter who is favourite among foreigners for that Indian simplicity in his works is happy about the new generation coming out of Bengal School of Art. He states the reason: "This new breed works in the traditional Bengal style but blends it with modern symbols and ethos. That gives their work a new dimension. They are also doing it because they know that when art lovers from the West come to India, they want to take some Indian memento home rather than something that they see in their own countries."
Having said this, the painter makes it clear that he doesn't like any big painter putting a big price tag on his work. "It is true that now artists are getting good money for their labour but if they really want to be seen in their own country, they should keep their price affordable for the middle class, who are the actual art lovers. Fancy prices do not parallel the worth of artwork. Actual appreciation is the actual money. Sometimes, even good artists are not paid what they deserve, so where are these market determiners coming from?" questions the artist, who despite his great worth, never puts the price on his works beyond Rs. 60,000. The price that he begins with is Rs.10, 000 only.
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