A documentation of artists from Bengal

Call of the Real by Modhurima Sinha offers a peek into the world of 11 mostly senior and well-known artists from Bengal. In a way, it's an important documentation effort as it elaborates on their respective careers and work, and in the process, encompasses milestones in their distinguished artistic journeys.

It's a book of the coffee table kind - enhanced with rich visuals. It's largely biographical in nature. The title Call of the Real is a quotation by Rabindranath Tagore. It speaks of, the author elaborates to say, a creative soul's response to experiences and reality in an individualistic way adding one's own perspective. The 11 contemporary artists are all realists in their own inimitable way and the book tries to gauge their creative responses.

Brought out in association with Gallery Sanskriti (Kolkata and Delhi) and Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad, the book also serves as means of promoting art of these artists. The Taj group of Hotels has offered a helping hand in this endeavor. The group's help has been sought for hosting related art shows across leading metros of India including Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad (Taj Krishna) and Mumbai. The promotion will also happen abroad in Sri Lanka and Dubai.

The idea of writing a book on these artists struck the author, while she was once talking to Ambica Beri of Gallery Sanskriti. The two felt that it was necessary to take a closer look at important artists from Bengal and to document their life properly so that readers from across India and even outside can know about their work and philosophy. Ambica Beri took the initiative and teamed up with Modhurima Sinha. Having been closely associated with most artists featured in this book, getting their consent for interviews and speaking to them was never a problem.

The book is a culmination of several hours of interviewing, researching and talking to the family members as well as friends of the artists. The idea behind these sessions was to dig out as much as details possible. The book carries short biography of each artist. It's full of anecdotes as the artists share their experiences and special moments with the author.

Born in 1918, Paritosh Sen is one of the pioneers of the Indian Modern Art Movement. Bikash Bhattacharjee is recognized as India's leading painter in the western realist and surrealist tradition. Paresh Maity, at 38, is among India's most promising young painters. Jogen Chowdhury's search for an artistic idiom true to the Indian soil is his forte. Shuvaprasanna has made a valuable contribution to the art movement in Kolkata not only as a painter and printmaker but also as the Founder of the Arts Acre, an artist's village on the outskirts of the city.

Though these artists are now well recognized internationally, behind their success lies a tale of immense struggle. In fact, this seems to be the common thread of the entire narration. The author focuses on how they fought with adversities to emerge as prominent artists. Their life story as narrated in Call of the Real is an account of development of art in Bengal over last several decades.

Enthused by an encouraging response to the book, the duo is now planning a similar book on women artists or emerging artists of Bengal.

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