Monday December 11, 2017

Mirakkel winner Subhasish Mukherjee talks on art and language conundrum


By Roshni Chakrabarty and Arnab Mitra

Kolkata: Paintings by Subhasish Mukherjee, winner of ‘Mirakkel Season 7’, are on display from November 7-14 at the Pratibha Art Gallery in the Academy of Fine Arts. ‘Mirakkel’ is a Bengali stand-up comedy show hosted by RJ and comedian Mir Afsar Ali, and featured on TV channel Zee Bangla. The exhibition, inaugurated by famed artist Samir Aich, showcases satirical pen sketches by Mukherjee.

The artist spoke to NewsGram on art, the relevance of language and Bengali comedy shows.

NG: You have added a Bengali poem at the bottom of each of your paintings. Say something on this unusual measure.

SM: Most people who come to see paintings appreciate them, but fail to understand their inherent meaning. Viewers must understand what the artist is trying to portray through their work, and the poems I added makes this process easier. It increases the viewability and understandability of the work.

People now neglect Bengali to a huge extent. School going students avoid using the language and some even proudly proclaim that they don’t read Bengali books or that they aren’t familiar with the works of Rabindranath. So, I have chosen to write the poems in my native tongue- Bengali, an effort to make more people come into contact with the language. If anyone is unable to understand what is written, I am always ready to explain the words in English or Bengali as required.

NG: Do you think the younger generation watches Bengali comedy shows such as Mirakkel or are they only interested in Hollywood and Bollywood films?

SM: Language is not a barrier when it comes to art, films, and music. Art has its own language. If I am listening to a song from the North East, I won’t understand the language, but I might very well love the music.

I don’t believe that the younger generation don’t watch Bengali shows or don’t like Bengali at all. I think which language one prefers is a personal choice. It varies from person to person according to their mindset.

But it’s true that English and Hindi have become a trend now. To communicate with most of the Indian mass, one must be well versed in either of these two languages as the vast majority speaks in them and no one can be blamed for this.

NG: Do you believe that great Bengali scholars such as Rabindranath Tagore and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay are not in relevance with the younger generation anymore, even though, at times they show an apparent pride in donning a kurta-pyjama on 25th Baishakh (Rabindranath’s birthday) or in keeping a copy of Gitanjali on their bookshelf?

SM: It is certainly a dangerous situation when people grow distant from their own roots and blindly try to follow a different culture. Such a state of affairs is also present outside Bengal. However, I believe that if a certain family decides to remain in touch with their roots and educates their children on their own culture with the help of the literature in their mother tongue, the younger generation is bound to stay in touch as well.

This obsession with the foreign culture has been around for ages and people are very proud if they get accepted in foreign universities such as Oxford or Harvard. The situation has grown all the more due to globalization, but it doesn’t mean that people have forgotten the likes of Rabindranath or Sarat Chandra.

NG: Are all the jokes delivered on Mirakkel your own work or do you take the help of other resources?

SM: Every joke and item presented on Mirakkel is not original. We often take ideas from Hindi movies or English comedy shows and translate them. However, it is true that often in the process of copying and translating jokes or other items, the original flavor of the piece is lost.

Mirakkel receives a very good response in Bangladesh. It is an amazing country and the people there are very sensitive towards their language. There are no such issues of language over there, such as the undue influence of English or Hindi. Most follow only Bengali.

NG: Do you think that, as a result of globalization, people have started to emulate the West even in matters of art?

SM: As I said before, art has its own language. An artiste’s style depends upon the artiste himself. Some might decide to be copycats, but painting, dance, music are all art-forms which come from a creative essence within us. The process isn’t meant to be mugged up or emulated.

Such is the western influence on our culture, be it in films, literature, music or art, that even if my own work is at par with that of an Italian painter exhibiting here, it is him who would receive more appreciation from the general public just because of his Western origin.

However, if I decide to copy Picasso’s style and his brushstrokes, that won’t make me Picasso. I don’t know if what I do is a western form or an Indian form. All I know is that I work with love and passion and with my own form—the Subhasish form (he laughs).

Subhasish Mukherjee
Subhasish Mukherjee
The artist with Samir Aich
The artist with Samir Aich
Samir Aich inaugurating the exhibition
Samir Aich inaugurating the exhibition


Samir Aich at the exhibition
Samir Aich at the exhibition

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Google Search now to support spell correction for Bengali queries for conveneince of Bengali speakers around the World

Google has already begun to gradually roll-out the Knowledge Graph in Bengali and will be made available to users around the world

UK based research proposes that diabetes can now be tracked through Google search results in a particular area.
A smartphone and computer screen display the Google home page, VOA

March 29, 2017: Aimed at helping Bengali speakers discover new information quickly, Google today announced the introduction of Knowledge Graph in Bengali language on Google Search. In addition, Google Search will now also support spell correction for Bengali queries improving the Search experience for the Bengali speakers around the world.

The Knowledge Graph enables users to search for things, people or places that Google knows about — landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more. The feature allows users to get straight to the answer instead of scrolling through webpages.

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Starting today, when a user searches for cricket legend Sourav Ganguly in Bengali, Google Search will display things instead of strings – and instantly get information that’s relevant to the query such as Sourav’s date of birth, his number as an active cricket player, or links to his profile on social media in Bengali.

To help users get answers even when they misspell a word, Google Search will now support spell correction for Bengali queries, suggesting similar queries whenever a typo made its way into users search query.

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Google has already begun to gradually roll-out the Knowledge Graph in Bengali and will be made available to users around the world. Today’s update will make it easier for the over 200 million Bengali speakers to search for appropriate information.

Google Knowledge Graph is currently available in 41 languages, maps out how more than 1 billion things in the real world are connected, and over 70 billion facts about them. Google claims that it is tuned based on what people search for, and what Google finds out on the web, improving results over time. (IANS)

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Ongoing Art Exhibition in New Delhi focusses on Tantric art to entice people with its mystery

An ongoing art exhibition in New Delhi aims at proving to people that the idea of 'Tantra' is much more than eerie and pointless mumbo jumbo

Rituals performed by a priest in a temple (representational image), Wikimedia

New Delhi, Feb 16, 2017: The idea of Tantra has been shrouded in mystery, esoteric ‘mumbo jumbo’, wild speculation, gross misunderstandings and sheer fantasy. The explicit imagery, lavishly coloured multi-appendaged deities in union with consorts are on on display at an ongoing art exhibition.

In the mid-20th century as modern art came under the influence of abstract ideals, with the rise of “Abstract Expressionism” and “Post Painterly Abstraction”, painting fore-fronted western modern art movements where basic symbolic forms became the norm in western modern art.

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As Indian modern artists came increasingly in contact with Western modernist movements, they recognised increasing similarity with these International modern art forms and their own indigenous tantric motifs that they began incorporating into their art works.

For the most part, the Indian contemporary modern artists were not specifically practicing tantra but they in various creative ways incorporated this familiar imagery into their works of art.

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The works of Raza, Sohan Qadri and even M.F. Husain are good examples of this. However, skilfully these works used the tantric iconography they did not necessarily portray a direct tantric experience of the maker.

“Tantra” curated By Bryan Mulvihill, is on at Art Konsult in Hauz Khas Village till February 18.

The show includes a range of vivid and rich coloured canvases, created by numerous masters and contemporaries. It depicts the ancient culture and method of tantra that was a highly believed and used technique in the past.

The exhibit brings tales from the yesteryears in colourful forms and gives a glimpse of the spiritual side of ancient India. Through mediums like acrylic, watercolours and mix media the essence of tantra was portrayed to the audience.

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“Tantra has always been a subject of anonymity for everyone, but this exhibition will provide people a sneak peek into the world of tantra through the means of extraordinary art works created by masters and contemporaries,” said Siddhartha Tagore, owner of Art Konsult.

“These colorful and bold works will surely attract art lovers of the capital,” he added.

The paintings on display burst out loud with bright colours and eye striking colour combinations. Each artwork depicts the spiritual method in every explicit manner and let spectators to go in flow with the visual treat displayed at the exhibition. (IANS)

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Kun-Faya & Fun art exhibition at India Habitat Centre in Delhi

"The acrylic colors from tubes are directly put on canvas and I used my fingers to draw the paintings"

Painting at India Habitat Centre (Representational image, Credits-Wikimedia)

New Delhi, February 8, 2017: Artist Ghazali Moinuddin’s solo art show titled “Kun-Faya-Fun” presented the audience its vibe & ethereal colors depicting the various shades of the nature.

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Organised at India Habitat Centre in the national capital, his paintings are all landscapes which show the beauty of the Nature. From the mist trapped within the woods to the mountain peaks covered in snow, Moinuddin’s every stroke brings it all alive.

Moinuddin has not drawn any inspiration while painting this series, for him it is all about his imagination. For him, nature has no boundaries, it has freedom.

“Imagination and inspiration are contradictory for me, it is disturbing rather. My paintings depend a lot on my mood. I have not been much to any hill station in past few years but all these are an outcome of my imaginative power,” Moinuddin told IANS.

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The artist didn’t use any brush while working on the 40 paintings. “The acrylic colours from tubes are directly put on canvas and I used my fingers to draw the paintings,” he said about his art work which took him two years to complete.

“The semi-realistic paintings create a 3D effect, the more you keep distance from the paintings, the better you can visualise it,” the artist said about his paintings.

The exhibition will go on till February 9, 2017. (IANS)