Sunday, November 4, 2012

2012- unpredictable happenings !

Year 2012 has brought a bag full of surprises and unexpected happenings to my life and as such, I didn’t have much time for art in the first three quarters except my live art in Kolkata. My sis-in-law was hosting a multimedia show called 'The Gitanjali Story’ in Kolkata on 8th Jan, 2012 at ICCR. To commemorate Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, she had held a more elaborate version of the same show in London in 2011 and had used some of my paintings as projection. She requested me to do a live art on one side of the stage during the show. She wanted something related to the theme to be done on a three feet by four feet canvas visible to audience in the last row. The duration of the show was an hour. I wasn’t very comfortable with the proposal but finally agreed because I like challenges. I used acrylic paint for the work. It was a totally new experience for me and I was completely engrossed in my work, enjoying the audio while I painted. My experience at the en-plein-air workshop attended this year in Wayland was of some use as it helped me to learn to work fast in a limited time. The title of my work was a famous poetry by Tagore-“ where the mind is without fear and the head is held high ”.  Here are a few pics and a video clipping of the show:

That’s me painting
Poster with another painting done by me

The projection is one of my paintings
The final outcome

I returned to Singapore mid January,2012 from our yearly Kolkata trip and had to pack-up and leave Singapore end of February to return to Kolkata for good. I had started enjoying my role as an artist with the entire space in my apartment and the time[ sunrise to sunset- monday to friday ] to myself and was mentally bit disturbed with the thought of giving it up and return to Kolkata. I spent 37 years of my life in Kolkata since the time I was born but that Kolkata was very different from the Kolkata I was returning to after 22 yrs. At this point I was offered a job as a chemistry teacher in a reputed school in Kolkata. I did not refuse the offer as I thought of it as a blessing that would help me to reconnect to the city. I taught chemistry for 17 yrs in Kolkata and left the city as a teacher in 1990 and was quite happy to return to the city as teacher. After I left Kolkata, I taught in secondary schools in Mumbai and Singapore till July, 2001. We were constantly on the move from October 2001 to June 2005 and as such had to quit teaching in schools on a permanent basis. I took up some volunteering work related to teaching during this period. Simultaneously, I was searching for something more permanent than volunteering, something I would enjoy as much as teaching. I realized that creating something in the form of art has been my constant hobby and passion all through my life and I started painting again from 2004. I took a few private lessons from Mrs. Cynthia Ho in 2004 and later on joined NAFA[ Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts]-Singapore for short courses. Between 2006 and 2010, I took part in a few group exhibitions in Singapore, completed a certificate course in Western painting from NAFA and never thought of going back to teaching chemistry again. 
I took up the teaching job in Kolkata with the understanding that I would work only one term. I set up my studio in one of our apartments and was looking forward to returning to my role as a painter at the soonest. 
Life didn’t take the path I had imagined it to take and right now I am here in a new country trying to cope with the approaching harsh winter. Once again I have to get used to a new place, new culture,re-organize myself and start painting under a different set of conditions. I don’t mind it. I kind of enjoy this lack of comfort as it forces me to create something different under the constraints imposed on me. We arrived in Reading, UK on 2nd September. I was lucky to get an apartment next to a river. It is a pleasure to observe the play of nature and the change of season, something I always missed in Singapore. When we arrived, the trees next to the river were full of green leaves, stooping towards the river as if to gaze at their reflections in the water. In these eight weeks the color of the leaves changed from green to yellow,orange and maroon and now they are completely bare. The temperature has been as low as 0C, it has been very gloomy on certain days and raining 24/7, daylight has become a valuable possession. Yet, I am happy to experience this.
I have been concentrating on water colour for the past few weeks and I intend to carry on with water colour while I am here. A few of my recent works will display my random thoughts very much in tune with my present status. I can see myself able to focus better as I am settling down.

Before we came to Reading, we spent two months in Wayland, MA. After many years, we were enjoying as a family and I concentrated in cooking for my loved ones.Be it replacing tropical vegetables with those available in Wayland to cook something new or try out different materials for creating art, my experimenting keeps me going wherever I am. It was fun to experiment with coffee as a medium. My son used to extract espresso using a machine from freshly ground beans. I used that espresso coffee to do the following paintings:

And of course, just like my other visits to Wayland, I did spend time with my grand daughter and her friend, teaching them how to make their own paper dolls and dress them. They enjoyed it a lot and carried on designing beautiful dresses for the dolls made by them. It was a pleasure to watch them making the dolls and I have to admit that some of their ideas were simply gorgeous !

Immediately before we left Singapore, people wanted to buy my art works and I sold most of the works I had exhibited in my solo exhibition Timeless Tagore. I am happy to have left my signature in Singapore.

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