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Following the Strokes Exhibition

Whether it was the medieval Black Death, which claimed the lives of 200 million Europeans between 1347-1351, or the much recent Spanish flu of 1918, which by some estimations claimed 100 million lives, artists have always found a way to document their contemporary experience. Take for example the 14th-century mural depicting Tournai Citizens Burying the Dead During the Black Death or the multiple Triumph of Death murals, where death is shown as a great equalizer in an otherwise hierarchical society.

In a sense, the pestilence or the pandemic has proven to be a puzzle for every age that considered itself ‘modern and developed’ until of course it was presented with a deadly disease that eradicated a significant section of the population in a jiffy. If we read literary works, such as Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Albert Camus’ The Plague or Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, or look at Edvard Munch’s 1919 self-portrait as an ailing man that remains a chilling testament to his brush with death, it is uncanny how they all seem to reflect and respond to concerns and anxieties that are truly relatable, even in the 21st century. The human condition, despite scientific advancements, remains marked by human vulnerability, perhaps more starkly than ever before.

We at KCC had encouraged contemporary artists and enthusiasts to look at and respond to masters who have captured in their paintings, photographs and literary pieces the essence of living through a past endemic. The idea was to challenge the present-day practitioners to not only creatively engage with one’s own experience of the pandemic, but also to inspire them to revisit masters who have taken this path before. However, we have also accommodated some fascinating artworks that have only focused on the present-day experience of the pandemic. 

The 25 selected artists comprise of young individuals who are pursuing their bachelor’s degree in fine art, trained artists, as well as elderly individuals who are passionate about paint and paper. It is also interesting that we are able to present young artists, such as Shivangi Kalra, who do not hesitate to put down the brush and explore the theme through other creative forms—a poem, in this case. Each participating artist in their chosen medium and style have tackled the idea and experience of pestilence, often engaging in meaningful dialogues with masters like da Vinci, Dali or Tagore. While some artists have painted the prolonged pause and its various psychological implications in our daily lives, others have searched for a silver lining, or simply interpreted older works in different mediums as a means of processing the unforgiving reality of the present pandemic. A case in point is Avijit Mukherjee’s woodcut print, My Family, where following the recent demise of his mother—the only connection he had to his past, the artist finds solace in Egon Schiele’s 1918 poignant portrait of his young family at the verge of succumbing to the Spanish flu. Avijit declares, “While Schiele looked to the future to what may have been, I looked back at the past to what was”. 

We hope you would enjoy the show just as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. 

Artist's Works

Susomoy Sur
Mixed Media on Paper
20cm x 30cm
2020

Ankan Bandhyopadhyay
Water Colour on Paper
12x16.5 inches
2020

Arindam Biswas
Acrylic on Canvas
16.5x20 inches
2020

Arya C Chowdhury
Oil and Acrylic on canvas
16.5x18.5 inches
2020

Avijit Mukherjee
Woodcut Print
18x16 inches
2020

Ayanava Sil
Photograph
18x12 inches
2020

Bappa Bhowmick
Acrylic on Canvas
12x18 inches
2020

Chinmoy Mukherjee
Digital Media
16x18 inches
2020

Dishari Chakraborty
Writing
Poem
2020

Amar Deashi
Mixed Media on board
12x18 inches
2020

Amit Biswas
Tempera on Canvas
18x16 inches
2020

Indrajit Narayan
Colour Pencil and Ink on Fabriano
20x22 inches
2020

John Joseph
Mixed media on linen paper
30x22 inches
2020

Urmila Banu
Writing
Poem
2020

Shivangi Kalra
Writing
Poem
2020

Monalisa Banik
Mix media on canvas board
20x20 inches
2020

Mrinal Kanti Bera
Engraving on Palm leaf, ink, pigment
9.8X13 inches
2020

Neha Dey
Water Colour on Paper
11x14 inches
2020

Ayanava Sil
Photograph
12x18 inches
2020

Pratyusha Jana
Pen & Ink on paper
10.5x6.5 inches
2020

Samiran Dey
Water Colour and Ink on Paper
11x14 inches
2020

Shyamal K. Roy
Mixed media on glass
12x15 inches
2020

Neha Dey
Water Colour on Paper
11x14 inches
2020

Bappa Bhowmick
Acrylic on Canvas
16x20 inches
2020

Ayanava Sil
Photograph
12x18 inches
2020

Samiran Dey
Water Colour and Ink on Paper
11x14 inches
2020

Smarak Roy
Charcoal on Paper
28.5x22 inches
2020

Vani Chawla
Acrylic on canvas board
20x16 inches
2020

Shyamal K Roy
Mixed media on glass
12x15 inches
2020

Maninder Singh
Charcoal and Watercolor
8x22 inches
2020