19 JULY 2022
MASTERLY MANOEUVRING / LALU PRASAD SHAW’S SOLO SHOW
GALLERIE SPLASH is all set to present Solo Art Exhibition – MASTERLY MANOEUVRING by renowned artist Lalu Prasad Shaw’s artistic pursuit from 20th July 2022 to 24th July 2022 at GF gallery, Main building Bikaner House New Delhi .
CURATORIAL ADVISOR / MANMEET K WALIA
“A display of multidisciplinary works by renowned artist Lalu Prasad Shaw gives a peep into the artist’s professional and artistic journey in his life.
Lalu Prasad Shaw represents the ideology of nationalism through his romance with Bengali culture and he sketches out his interpretation of beauty in the simplicity of the people of Bengal.
The show also presents a documentary filmed in the artist’s studio, especially for the exhibition in Delhi presented by Gallery Splash. Shaw talks about his artistic goals, narrates anecdotes reminiscing good old times, his attachment with the city of Kolkata, mentions the challenges he faced, shares his experiences during the journey and compliments his long- standing affiliation with the gallery.
“Capturing the cultural essence of the traditional art form of West Bengal, Kalighat Pat, and reimagining it, Shaw drifts away from the conventional story-telling and narrates his deep-rooted association with Kolkata (then Calcutta). The history and creative passion in West Bengal are impregnated with culture and colours; Shaw portrays that fervour through his practice,” Manmeet K Walia, the Curatorial Advisor of the Show said.
Born in Siuri, Birbhum, in Bengal in 1937, for the versatile artist Lalu Prasad Shaw, art was all around for him and he could see the Malakars work and their magic on the Sholapith craft, one among the traditional handicrafts of Bengal. He would keenly watch them work on sculpted idols of Goddess Durga, the puja adornments as well as the pata art to place in front of the idol. Lalu Prasad Shaw, who soaked in the art on his way home, soon began to explore colours and make paintings on his own,” says the Manmeet K Walia, the Curator of the Show.
“His art master in school, Pinakinath Bhattacharya was an early influence and Lalu Prsad Shaw remembers the trips outdoors to paint. Abanindranath and Gaganendranath works which ruled the Bengal art scene which used to appear in the monthly Basumati, Prabasi and Modern Review were also copied by Shaw in his adolescence. He was admitted to Indian College of Art & Draftsmanship, Kolkata in 1953 but after a few months he left and joined the Govt. College of Art & Craft, Kolkata in 1954 where he studied under Ajit Gupta, Gopal Ghosh, Rathin Maitra, Anil Bhattacharya and Maniklal Bandopadhyay. Lalu Prasad Shaw’s later works on tempera have glimpses of the influences of Ajit Gupta, who was Shaw’s favorite at the institute,” says the Curator.
After graduation, Lalu Prasad Shaw taught art for 18 years covering painting in watercolour, pastel and clay modelling in various schools of West Bengal. Later, artist Lalu Prasad taught graphic art at his alma mater and moved to Kala Bhavan in Shantiniketan.
“The inspiration behind my painting is nothing but space, form, and light. I try to paint the people around me, their attire, and their life. My artworks have great meaning behind them, which cannot be felt by just glancing at it once or twice, you must observe my paintings in order to feel it. My Babu and Bibi do not wear modern outfits or clothes, they only wear traditional dresses like Dhotis and Sarees,” the eminent artist shared his fascination with the traditional Kalighat Patachitra and the historical Ajanta Cave paintings.
“His highly stylized paintings reflect his interest in patterns, where each minute detail is called in for its significance, reminding one of the miniature portraits of the past. At the age of 32, he took an interest in printmaking and made a name for himself as a printmaker in Indian contemporary art. This fascination with printmaking started in 1967 when he joined the ‘Society of Contemporary Artists’, where Artist Sanat Kar introduced him to graphic prints and Suhas Roy who had returned from Paris taught Shaw the techniques of etching. He was also influenced by an exhibition of graphic prints from Czechoslovakia which had come to Calcutta. This exhibition inspired him for the strong and bold use of black and white. Starting with geometric forms, Shaw started experimenting with form, tonality, texture and dimensionality in his prints. He worked constantly both in etching and lithography and under the able guidance of Somenath Hore, re-designed the department of printing at Kala Bhavan,” says the Manmeet K Walia, the famous Curator.
Lalu Prasad Shaw says his lithography work has calligraphic elements which was a direct result of the ambience in Kala Bhavana and the overall interest in the art of the Far-East at Santiniketan.
“Etching and lithography, as part of Shaw’s journey, enriched not only Bengal’s, but the entire nation’s printmaking scenario. Thus Shaw kept printing and several modes of painting side-by-side, experimenting in both abstraction and figuration firmly believing in the ‘journey’ of discovering ways to depict the image,” artist said.
“Lalu Prasad Shaw’s latest foray into sculpture comes from an interest to see how his two-dimensional paintings would look in a three-dimensional format. With his new sculptural work Shaw chooses to focus on many familiar Kolkata tropes- trams, hand-held rickshaws, fish markets and the middle class people- his personal favorite being ‘Babuana’, the sculpture which depicts a Bengali babu walking with a fish in one hand and resting an umbrella on the other for which he had used a hilsa fish as a mould to add authenticity to the work.,” the Curator remarked on the artist’s style of working.
Lalu Prasad Shaw’s work has featured in many prestigious shows including the second British Biennale in London 1970, two Norwegian Print Biennales in 1974 and 1978, the seventh Paris Biennale in 1971 and the second Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh in 1984.
His works are also part of the permanent collections like the Birla Academy in Calcutta and the Art Forum in Singapore.
His notable achievements include 1959 West Bengal Lalit Kala Academy’s Award for Graphic Art 1971, National Award in Graphic Art 1976, Birla Academy Award for Graphic Art 1978, Award for Graphic Art and Drawing, and 1981 All India Graphic and Drawing Exhibition, Chandigarh among many others.
“My journey in art began with pain and discouragement, people around me said it will be futile. Nevertheless, I decided to pursue art,” a message to the generations by the versatile artist of international acclaim who still experiments and explores with abstraction and figuration of art.
VENUE: GF GALLERY/ MAIN BUILDING BIKANER HOUSE/ NEW DELHI
Images and content credits/ Gallerie Splash