The Pioneer 2 December 2014, New Delhi

The Pioneer 2 December 2014, New Delhi


The Pioneer 2 December 2014, New Delhi

Life in a metro

Ananta Mandal’s works describe his struggles and experiences in Kolkata and Mumbai.

Divya Kaushik reports

Confused, she looks straight in your face like she has been waiting to ask several questions. There are patches of red on her face that seem to symbolise anger and fury contained within her. Goddess Durga stands behind her and the same red colour adorns her forehead. This painting by Ananta Mandal describes the female strength. The artist says that this is his tribute to Goddess Durga.

The painting is a part of his exhibition Multifarious Impressions 2 at Lokayata, Hauz Khas Village. The painting stands out among the collection of cityscapes portraying the streets of Kolkata and Mumbai. Ananta lived in Kolkata and moved to Mumbai later. He says that he found both the cities similar. “I consider myself an impressionist — one who is inspired by what he sees, draws his impression of it and then paints it on the canvas.

The paintings depict the streets of Kolkata and Mumbai not just as they are, but what I believe them to be. Both the cities are dear to my heart and have been a part of my struggle as an artist. When I moved to Kolkata to study art, I was astonished by the huge world of art. I came from a small town in West Bengal and did not even know that one can study art. While I was in Kolkata, trying to establish myself as an artist, I faced financial hurdles and to meet my financial needs I did all sorts of work. I taught kids, painted walls and hoardings to buy material for my paintings. After a lot of struggle I managed to establish myself and then I moved to Mumbai,” informs Ananta.

 Though, he says that the cityscapes describe his experience and hardships, they portray quite a happy and beautiful picture to the onlooker. One can also see a few paintings depicting the scene from the deserts of Rajasthan. There is also a painting of a steam engine. Ananta says that he saw the steam engine as a child near Howrah in Kolkata and the picture always remained in his memory. “I really liked the beauty of that huge black body engulfed in smoke. In my works, I use steam engine to represent the dark phases that we encounter in our lives,” says he.

The artist usually paints in watercolour, though he says that he has never restricted himself when it comes to the medium of painting. “I do oil and acrylics also but in my works you will find lot of watercolour paintings because I feel it is the most difficult and challenging medium to work with. Also once you start painting in watercolour, you need to do it continuously to train yourself. Once you give it a break, the perfection is lost. So it is important for me to keep doing works in watercolour,” he shares.

Ananta will also hold a workshop at Lokayata from December 18 to 22. He will talk about the technique of watercolour painting.


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