Logbook of an Unknown Artist | Paintings Of Animesh Roy

Logbook of an Unknown Artist | Paintings Of Animesh Roy

Art of Animesh Roy Please keep in touch with my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/animeshroyartist Still Life with plate o...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My friend Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta

When I heard the news of Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta* passing away in February 2007, I was walking towards my shack in Colva, Goa for a hearty meal of fish and rice!! I was shocked and sad but as I looked at the spread on the table and the blue sea beyond, I felt joy in my heart.. for I think I may have imbibed some of his qualities in my life…

I last meet him when he had came to my painting exhibition in October in New Delhi 2006. We were meeting after a long gap and to me he looked very tired and ill but still had that regal stance! When I told him he didn't look too well – he shot back- "I am absolutely fine!" We discussed contemporary Indian art and he looked angry and amused at the other show he had just seen "nudes in Garter Belt " calling it "that's pornography!!" He told me to go on my path and we talked about my sojourn at Naggar – where I had done most of the paintings for that show. He looked visibly excited about Naggar and said he had been there many years back. Naggar in Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India was the abode of Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich, Russian painter … and later I came to know he and Mrs. Dasgupta had gone away to Naggar to be amidest the mighty Himalayas…

I was a raw, upstart in 1984 when I met Prof. Dasgupta.. in tearing hurry to become an artist… though I was still in my secondary school.

There was an age difference but I never felt it, because of his mature sensitivity towards me. I would go and spend long afternoons and evenings over endless cups of tea and lovely food at his Malvia Nagar home. Those were my growing up years in the world of art. But now I think it was also about life and how beautiful it is if we grow to appreciate and enjoy the little nuances… this I think I imbibed a lot from him.

He was a connoisseur of all things beautiful.. A beautiful artist but had stopped painting and was immersed in doing his work at PIDT**. Once I helped him take out and dust up old works, get them framed etc for a show in Holland. All works were sold!! Later in life he painted privately and wished one day to showcase them but Delhi art galleries weren't ready... I went to some but without success!! He was humble and would say philosophically: "Ma Sarsawti doesn't bless all..."

We spent endless hours drinking tea discussing Cezanne to Nandalal Bose.. I could throw anything at him and he would always have a very different and alternate idea. Never the conventional cliché ridden sermons I used to hear from all my college professors… Be it my stance that Gandhi's role in India's freedom movement was too exaggerated or my intense dislike for Bengali sweets…later in life I have grown to love both!!

At his invitation during my summer vacation from Art College in 1987 I went to Jagdishpur, Bihar. It was an enriching experience to draw and paint in the countryside – a part of India I didn't know existed. So backward that the sight of my sketching pen would generate excitement among the tribes. I would often show him my works and he always was very gentle and the criticism was very constructive. He never derided my work.

In 1990 when I was on the verge of graduating from Art College, he came to see our annual art show. And my friends asked me if he was my father…

So as I dug into my Goan fish curry and rice, gazing at the white beach and gently lashing blue Arabian Sea I knew he would approve of this… for he loved the treasure of this world – sights, sound, smell and taste…

Goa, March 2007

Son of Surendranath Dasgupta (Bengali: সুরেন্দ্রনাথ দাসগুপ্ত) (1887–1952), a scholar of Sanskrit and philosophy. Prof. Dasgupta was an artist and a social worker and founder of PIDT. His sister was Maitreyi Devi, the writer.

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