Artist Pradiptaa Chakraborty Turns to Miniature Traditions to Paint Legendary Love Tales

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From Heer-Ranjha to Mirza-Sahiba and Parineeta, love stories may be familiar to many, but in the canvases of artist Pradiptaa Chakraborty, they reach new dimensions.

“My works are born out of my experiences dating back to my childhood, the many street dramas I have seen in West Bengal and the many memories I have. These have defined my practice as well as the works of the greatest writers and poets from Bengal. For me, a work of art pulls together the fabric of socio-cultural customs and visits both past and present,” says Chakraborty, 43.

Melancholic Kiss by Heer Ranjha.

Curated by Uma Nair, the exhibition titled “Ae Mohabbat” at Delhi’s Alturaash Gallery features intricate paintings depicting the stories. Yes Melancholic Kiss by Heer Ranjha captures an intimate moment between lovers with metaphorical references – of a hoofed human (deer symbol of freedom in Buddhism) and a lion (symbol of pride) – Mirza-Sahiba’s immortal love story to create the new world has the protagonists sit on a horse; here, we see angels with bows and arrows perched on flowers.

Recreate a scene from the 1914 Bengali novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay Parineeta, Chakraborty includes the golden deer Maricha from the Ramayana in the depiction. “Parineeta is a complete woman. She gives of herself for her home and her family. I was trying to create this image of wholeness,” says Visva Bharati graduate Santiniketan, who has exhibited all over the world, from London to Australia. In his previous works, the Delhi-based artist has drawn inspiration from mythology and tradition.

Pradiptaa Chakraborty, Pradiptaa Chakraborty exhibition, Pradiptaa Chakraborty Ae Mohabbat Mirza-Sahiba’s Immortal Love Story to create the new world.

The current exhibition also includes preparatory drawings for the canvases. “In a revolutionary break with the institutional definition of drawing, he uses his reliance on paper as a fundamental support material, to create these drawings that push lines through the plane into real space, thus affirming the relationship between object of art and the environment created. Its lines flow like fluid realities to create designs that are both compelling and charismatic,” writes Nair in the catalog.

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