a) A White Babu and his Dog b) Embrace c) Showing pats to a White Babu (Kalighat Pat)
Signed in Bengali (lower centre) (each)
Watercolour and stone colour on paper (each)
a) 19.5 x 13.5 in | 50 x 34.8 cm
b) 19.5 x 13.5 in | 50 x 34.8 cm
c) 19.5 x 13.5 in | 50 x 34.5 cm
(Set of three)
Kalighat paintings or 'patas' were first created in Bengal in the mid 19th century by traditional scroll painters known as 'patuas' who had moved to Kolkata attracted by its prosperity as the capital of British Indian and by the newly established Calcutta School of Art there. To make a living, these artists began painting around the old Kali temple in the city's tourists visiting the shrine as souvenirs. Blending Indian subjects with newly learned Western techniques, these unique paintings with their characteristic bold, single-stroke outlines soon known for their simple subjects, swift execution, vivid colours, lack of perspective, generously curved figures, and also their satirical undertones.Almost entirely displaced by cheaper printed versions in the 1940s, today, the tradition of Kalighat painting has been renewed by some of the descendents of the original patuas like Anwar Chitrakar. In addition, the tradition has evolved, vand contemporary Kalighat paintings reflect a number of new subjects including modern family life, social evils and global events.
Anwar Chitrakar lives and works in Naya village, a community of 'patuas' or artists and their families, in Midnapore, West Bengal. Originally working as a tailor, Anwar now strives to revive the lost glory of Kalighat 'patas' through his work, combining traditional techniques with contemporary subjects and sensibilities. Local and global events, including the Naxalite violence in his state and the attacks on the twin towers in New York have featured in his paintings alongside traditional subjects like Kali and the ubiquitous Bengali babu. In 2006, he was honoured with the President's Award, and his paintings several prestigious collections including that of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.