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Laced with philosophy

Artist Anup Karar is inspired by both visual and literary sources



Poignant images: One of Anup Karar's works

"I HAVE tried to depict the effects of the degradation of human values in modern life," says Kolkata-based painter Anup K. Karar.

His exhibited works are both medium and large, the technique of painting in soft sfumato effects, recreating the world of an urban culture where living is perpetually on the edge. The compositions though appearing simplistic in their visual content are nevertheless loaded with the artist's philosophy of life without attempting valourisation. Anup is showcasing his recent works at the Vinyasa Art Gallery.

With Anup, seeing and experiencing art is a powerful tool and like many contemporary artists, he is inspired by both visual and literary sources.

Powerful works

Having graduated from the Indian College of Art, Kolkota, and heavily inspired by his teacher Bikash Bhattacharjee, Anup has clarified his position as an artist through his powerful works that make a strong comment on the socio-economic condition. And this dynamism of reaching out in empathy finds its potency in his representation of the subject inspired or instigated by the life of not only urban Kolkata but also any inhuman acts perpetuated in any part of the country.

Reinforcing his expressionistic imagery are the poignant, evocative and suggestive titles as the `Dusk,' `Swan Song,' `Déjà vu,' `Androcles,' and `Waiting for Godot.'

The artist's sincerity and concern for the victims of the socio-economic class barriers emerge in his passionate portrayal of the hard life led by the rickshaw pullers of Kolkata. Identifying them as his protagonist, Anup has recreated with poignancy their futile existence with titles such as `Die Hard' and `Androcles.' The latter character, from Greek mythology, is a brave fighter who faces conflicts and angst of life with immense courage and strength.

Inscribing his canvases with proletariat characters and underpinning them with social messages, Anup is in sympathy with them to open up space for their visibility in a techno-savvy world, where inhuman practices continue to exist. Equally he makes his comment on the position of women for whom nothing changes as Anup declares, "Elections come and go, promises are made but nothing happens and the women who cast their vote realise no benefits and continue to suffer in silence," or she waits eternally as in "Waiting for Godot" for the right man to enter her life, or is pensive in "Dusk," where she craves for her own space within familial arena.

Notion of alienation

Anup has established this notion of alienation and suffering of his protagonists either men or women. And it is his technique that enables him to put forth his concepts. The soft and fuzzy mixing of colours creating sombre areas, display poignancy reflective of the nature of Rembrandt's works, since his figures emerge from tenebristic backgrounds. The colours in certain instances are harsh and garish, but this declares his meaning on life, particularly the painting "Swan Song," wherein an old man plays on his music in the dusk of his life, his finest song of life's myriad experiences.

Through modulations of light and shade and evading the definition of eyes, Anup craftily declares his intention of looking at the world through his inner eye or making attempts to understand it through intuition. Though his works portray the dismal scenario of life they are not purely pessimistic, for he also puts faith in mankind having the potential to break free and create a beautiful life for himself, demonstrated in "Beyond Barriers," represented by a man on camel exulting with both his hands raised. This is where Anup strikes a healthy balance in his art and philosophy, making a statement that each individual has the potential to achieve, but through sincerity and consistent hard work.

The show is on at Vinyasa Art Gallery, Music Academy premises, TTK Road, till October 10.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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