Paper works: Somnath Hore
100 days, 19 hours and 49 minutes.
As witness to human suffering from the days of the War and the Bengal Famine, Somnath Hore poignantly captured the horror and ugliness brought upon people through his paintings, prints and sculptures. Beginning with writing posters for the Communist Party, he was encouraged by Chittaprasad to visually document his observations. His drawings featured in publications like Janyuddha and Peoples War where they gained attention. Encouraged by the Party to move to Kolkata and enrol at the Government Art College, he refined his representational skills and overcame his technical shortcomings. In the late 40s and early 50s, when printmaking made circulating the Party ideology easy, he took it up seriously. He delved deep into it, exploring its possibilities. In succeeding decades, he veered away from the purely representational and moved towards stylisation and suggestion.
He had worked with various media, and at the core of every work, his ideological concerns remained centred on human suffering. He wanted to infuse his works with more than just an idea or image of suffering; he universalised it by incorporating its sensations. So he moved from colour lithography to wood-cuts, etchings, engravings, and bronze sculptures, every time approaching them with a fresh start. The figures we see here are hence not sentimental images of suffering. We glimpse forms and perceive varying moods in each creation.
The anguished human form has widely been reflected in Hore's figuration.