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Home > Discover Mumbai > Art and Culture > Rakhee Sakar

 Rakhee Sakar  

Art cannot flourish in a vacuum - Rakhee Sarkar, Curator, CIMA.

The Art of Bengal exhibition, Curated by CIMACIMA, Centre of International Modern Art Gallery, is India's most avant-garde art centre, situated in Central Calcutta. The organisation which started seven years ago, in 1993, under a leading publishing house, has succeeded in creating an internationally recognised art institution, promoting contemporary Indian Art. CIMA's art exhibitions in India and abroad are some of the country's finest shows and most appreciated by the general public.

Mumbaibest spoke to the Rakhee Sarkar, Curator, CIMA Calcutta, while she was in Mumbai for the 'Art of Bengal' exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).


Considering the fact that we started just seven years ago, the response has been overwhelming. Not only in India, but outside India too our exhibitions were well appreciated. One of our pioneering international exhibitions, in London, at the Whitley's Gallery and another in Singapore, have been highly acclaimed. We plan to take the Indian art to each and every part of the world, in order to create awareness about art among the masses.

We do a lot of research work before we go to the public. Take the Art of Bengal exhibition, for example, first we had to find out where are all the works were scattered, then comes the process of assimilation, and restoration, if necessary, which is quite a long and tedious process. We took almost two years to accomplish the task.

Along with our primary concern which is exhibiting art, CIMA also focuses on other areas like documentation and publishing, archival development, restoration and authentication, all in the context of art history.

Throwing light on the Bengal School Movement

The Bengal School Movement can be well attributed to Abanindranath's School of Art. Abinindranath played a pivotal role in the process of developing the art language of twentieth century Bengal. Since he was from the Tagore family, people were not sceptical about his works, and he was well accepted by the masses. While Abanindranath was already experimenting with providing a new idealistic vision to Indian art, Ernest Havell, an orientalist, took over the Calcutta School of Art. Then came pan-Asianism, a real new dimension of art, where the Bengal artists participated equally. During this time the matter of language was contextualised, and Indian art got an identity.

Later, a lot of experiments were done with Art & Culture from different countries, for example, the Japanese style was implemented. A sort of mystical melancholy which was created by Abanindranath, was now being carried by his followers, Suren Kar, Nandalal Bose and many more.

On the new genre of Bengal Art

Maybe a decade back or so, suddenly Calcutta got isolated from the mainstream art. Now with so many talented contemporary artists, its again gaining momentum and we believe that the new genre of promising artists like Partha Pratim have done Calcutta proud.

Art cannot flourish in a vaccum, it grows with culture, media, literature and everything that goes in building up a society.

By: Sharmistha Chakraborty

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