Sometime in the middle of December, in 1949, I met Prodosh Dasgupta, Prankrishna Pal, and Rathin Mitra at the Calcutta Photo Society at 157B, Dharamtolla Street. Prodosh happened to be a previous acquaintance. The other two gentlemen, however, I met for the first time. “Why, we’ve been looking for you. There’s something we would like to discuss,” they said. Following my work at the Photo Society, we picked up the remainder of the conversation at a nearby restaurant over coffee. “You seem to be quite prolific with pen-and-wash sketches,” they said. “We would like to hold a solo exhibition of your works at the Calcutta Group.”
Art Rebel Centre, founded in 1933, was formed and led by Gobardhan Ash, Abani Sen, Annada Dey, and Bhola Chatterjee. Subsequently, some of those invited to submit their work in exhibitions accepted membership. These include Lalit Chandra, Haridas Ganguly, Samar Dey, Amar Dasgupta, Sachin Das, Kalikinkar Ghoshdastidar, Khagen Roy, and Suren Dey, among others. Manoj Bose and Rabi Bose became members too, despite not providing paintings for exhibitions. The following is a brief history of how Art Rebel Centre came to be.
[The present article by the veteran artist Gobardhan Ash, stands testament to two of the pioneering ventures, in recent years, at creating a cumulative creative space for young artists of this country ━ both of which he had been a part of. Mr. Ash was subsequently involved with the Calcutta Group as well.]
NFTs or Non Fungible Tokens are a new technology phenomenon allowing clear ownership and easy transferability of digital artwhich can be unique or in editions. In understanding NFT, one needs to understand digital art and perhaps the progression of the mediums on which art is painted/ executed. Since time immemorial - art has been painted on wooden panels, walls, paper, and from around the 16th century on canvas.
Each time young Homi Wadia entered the set with his producer-director brother J.B.H. Wadia, his eyes would light up like a kid in a candy shop. His gaze was not stuck on fantastical costumes or the star-studded cast but set on the camera. This demonstrated his childhood aptitude for mechanical processes and all things technical. It was not long before he decided to dispense his studies and join his brother in the art of film making.
Wadia Movietone was established by the Wadia brothers, J.B.H. Wadia and Homi Wadia in 1933. It was one of the first studios in the 1930s to achieve success through the production of stunt films. Lal-E-Yaman was the first talkie film to be released under the banner of Wadia Movietone. Each Wadia Movietone film served a purpose and made a social statement. Be it the Fearless Nadia era that changed the portrayal of women in Indian cinema or Nav Jawan, the first Indian film without a single song. J.B.H. Wadia and Wadia Movietone constantly challenged conventional cinema in ways more than one.
A young boy's obsession with film was the cause of his secret trips to Bombay's cinematheques. Perhaps it was J.B.H. Wadia's heart thudding in anticipation that often broke the silence enveloping the dark movie theatre right before the big screen would light up. Mr. Wadia was a dedicated student of film since his high school days, growing up in an ever-present environment of cinema. Bombay's historically prominent locations dotted with stand-alone theatres were photographic landmarks etched in J.B.H's memories. These glorious theatres were not just recreational spots for the cinephile but institutions that shaped his cinematic oeuvre.
Riyad Wadia (1967 – 2003), the grandson of J.B.H. and Hilla Wadia, was a film buff right from childhood, learning all he could about his grandfather’s studio and work, along with the rich history of the Wadia family itself.
J.B.H. Wadia (1901-1986), the founder of Wadia Movietone, was the great-grandson of Lovji Nusserwanjee Wadia (1702-1774) of Surat, Gujarat, of the Wadia line of shipbuilders who founded the Wadia Group in 1736.
Cinema came to India within a couple of years of its invention in the last decade of the 19th century. Dadasaheb Phalke, however, is considered the Father of Indian Cinema as he was the first filmmaker to have produced the very first full-length film in India that could be shown theatrically all on its own. This was in the year 1913. Overnight, it replaced live theatre with cinematic features. This was the beginning of the Indian film industry which soon became the second-largest in the world after Hollywood.
"I wish my mother had seen all this because it was something that was just after her heart," said Radhika Gupta, the daughter of the Oscar-winning costume designer and artist Bhanu Athaiya. Talking about the documentation of her mother's antique textile collection recently consigned to Prinseps, Radhika Gupta dotes over her mother's inherited legacy.
In the mid-1700s, the Master Shipbuilder Lowji Nusserwanji Wadia built a grand bungalow in tony Parel, which came to be known as Lowji Castle – with an imposing entrance hall and a wide oak- wood balustrade leading from it to the living area! Lighting up the entrance lobby were several colourful stained-glass panels with the family crest and motto – “Honor and Magnanimity” along with the sailing ship at the centre of the design! Several generations of the Wadia family lived in this palatial abode right up to the late 1800s. It is recounted by J.B.H. Wadia's family members that the elite of Bombay society wined and dined at the ‘castle’ including senior members of the British establishment.
A chronicle thinker, Prabhakar Barwe is best known for his thought experiments with object-form-content interrelationships. Born in the family of sculptors, Barwe’s father, Shivram, worked in various film studios, making sculptural molds for commercial use and, significantly, his grand-uncle, Vinayak Pandurang Karmarkar, who was well known for strictly following the academic genre of realism. Barwe’s spent his initial years in the Konkan village, where he was born, and his later years in Bombay (now Mumbai) surrounded by the natural and creative atmosphere.
Like a brocade bridge that takes you back in time, the personal textile collection of India’s most renowned costume designer Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya leads you deeper into both her inherited legacy and the one she herself created.
We present a rare collection of first editions (most are either the first editions or early printings), printed in India and from the difficult-to-source period of the 1920s to 1960s. Many of these books are un-documented and have never been offered by antiquarian book dealers. Being printed in India very few copies of most have survived, making pricing exceptionally challenging in the absence of comparables.
Avatar, also known as a profile picture or user picture in the computing world, refers to a graphical representation of a user or the user's character or persona or possibly physical traits. It may take either a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities or a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds. (Wikipedia)
The country just lost an eminent poet and a Rabindranath Tagore specialist. I had first heard of Sankha Ghosh from Raman Sivakumar at Santiniketan, who had suggested I take his help in annotating Rabindranath Tagore’s speeches from the Rathindranath Tagore estate. Annotating Rabindranath is not an easy task, there are many nuances. These speeches were written in interesting times – independence movement, internal politics in Santiniketan, impending wars, and leading up to the famous crisis of civilizations speech just before he passed away.