Launch: TAKE Bengal (Part 1), Issue 25
To mark the launch of TAKE Bengal, guest edited by writer and curator Ina Puri, TAKE on Art hosted the panel discussion ‘Framing Bengal: Different Lenses’ at The Harrington Street Arts Centre, Kolkata on 27 November 2019. Jogen Chowdhury (renowned artist) was guest of honour for the evening.
The panel includes Jawhar Sircar, Tapati Guha-Thakurta, R. Siva Kumar, Adip Dutta and Anshuman Dasgupta. It was moderated by Oindrila Maity Surai.
What constitutes the art of Bengal? The entire premise for this issue of TAKE Bengal hinges on that one question, and while there clearly is art from Bengal, it is the possessive preposition that raises premises and hackles. For nearly four centuries the Portuguese, Dutch, French and, finally, the British, all touched the shores of Bengal, each leaving an imprint not only on the history, politics and economics but also on the art, architecture, fashion and cuisine that have shaped this fertile east Indian riverine state. With the art in Bengal having made significant contributions to India’s art history—socially, culturally, economically and politically—the tradition of knowledge production in Bengal that has its roots in the various schools of thought, continues to produce more research and dialogue around these aspects to this day. Yet, the large amount of research only reaches a limited and interested audience. History books, journals, and papers are complete with extensively researched material, but what is the community that reads it and who are the receivers?
This issue of TAKE on Art tries to re-explore the history and the contemporary situations in Bengal in order to regenerate an alternate form of history-writing. Situating the narrative within the framework of a number of iconic images that define art in Bengal, spanning across different historical periods, the idea is to delineate a history in parts to create a whole through a visual narrative.