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Strokes of sympathy

Rajesh Bhowmik's paintings, which show the different faces of a fallen woman, are very evocative. A review.


THERE IS sincerity and profundity in the oil paintings by Rajesh Bhowmik, the Agartala-based artist who is exhibiting his creations in Chennai. Having got his Bachelor's degree in painting from the College of Art and Craft, Agartala, a post-graduate degree from the IKS University, Madhya Pradesh, and with a scholarship at Ahmedabad, Bhowmik has been exposured to different styles. He has been able to imbibe some aspects from each style and create a style of his own, though with shades of German expressionism.

The artist has chosen for his theme the life of prostitutes. Whatever might be the reason for a woman to choose that path, she is ultimately just an object of desire. Like throwing away a can away after drinking a soft drink, she is cast away, says Bhowmik, an aspect that has left a deep impression on the young artist's mind.

The misery of their lives comes alive in his compositions. The positioning of the various elements such as the woman, men and the chess board symbolises the game of love which they pretend to play. Bhowmik often creates a kind of parody of eroticism by painting the figure of a dog.


Most of his works are small and the tightness of the composition heightens the emotions of the situation. The woman's very pose is expressive — she may be flaunting her charms to entice the man, she may stand on the street propositioning him or she may feel abandoned.

The paintings evoke the viewer's sympathy. Bhowmik also gives social messages such as "Green city - Clean city" or "No U turn" through his canvases. He has used warm shades of red, pink and yellow in a psychological sense; their juxtaposition with other colours is quite effective and evocative, particularly when combined with textural variations, for which he has a flair.

One must appreciate his enthusiasm in bringing so many of his paintings to show in Chennai all the way from Tripura. The exhibition is on at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Greams Road, till November 27.

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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