Giving a form to notions

Subtle and haunting. The paintings and sculptures at Sarala art gallery take one to the realms of unknown, surpassing which, one finds oneself reborn. Such an impact shouldn’t be surprising given the names like Amitabh Sengupta, Jatin Das among the other 15 revered artists whose works have been exhibited.

Abstract, sparing one that is a landscape, the untitled paintings find themselves in the milieu of bronze and stone sculptures. These look mysterious. Almost like the sacred gods of the gallery who keep a look on you while you look at the paintings.

So when you see the painting with voluptuous women bound to their livelihood, your attention is also drawn to the sphinx look-alike stone structure that rests beside it. The women in the painting are busy with their chores. One of them has a basket of fish on her head and there is another playing flute. It is hard to decode what’s on their mind. But of course, they are women, so the attempt is as good as futile and you move on.

A worn-out page of a manuscript, with embossed letters sprouting occasionally — Like a grand secret or a clue which Robert Langdon, the famous Dan Brown made symbologist, carries around —  Sengupta’s twin paintings almost make you take a step back in the fear that you have exposed yourself to something which you shouldn’t have. Focusing on the written lines that are smudged by the brush strokes, you find yourself turning into a cryptologist trying to challenge your linguistic proficiency.

The next step you take is into a pool of bluish-green ocean. The smooth transition of colours from dark blue at the depths to a lighter shade at the horizon, makes you want to wet your fingers in the chill waters that they seem to be. If this felt like an aqua therapy, the next painting whisks you away into a misty land dotted with red-roofed houses and tall trees. You think twice before even exhaling, fearing that the slightest of movements can disturb the tranquility of the place. The chatter grows, and you fight the urge to silence the gossiping women folk in the adjacent painting – an art by Jatin Das. However, you immediately lose your will as you are drawn to the jasmine in their hair that lusciously falls until their midriff.

As you exit, you find yourself face to face with a family of, well, penguin and human hybrid forms – black faces and grainy body. Carved out of stone, they gaze at you with a hope-you-liked-it look. You can almost hear yourself giving your reviews to them. Outlandish! But, so was the collection.

The exhibition is on till July 20.

This article was previously published in The New Indian Express. Check out –



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