The ongoing exhibition at Aakriti Art Gallery,’ Drawings of Ramkumar’ features previously un-exhibited works by the eminent artist made during the early 60s. The show was curated by Sri Prayag Shukla and was inaugurated by Gagan Gill, sister in law of the artist. The gallery hosted a discussion on the life and works of Ramkumar on 2nd August’ 2014.The interactive session was moderated by Sri Prayag Shukla. The speakers included Pranab Ranjan Ray, Nanak Ganguly, Jawahar Goel and Gagan Gill.
For the speakers, it was not merely an academic discourse of his works rather a personal retelling about the journey of the artist. Art scribe Mr Pranab Ranjan Ray narrated his personal interaction with the artist. He traced the evolution of Ramkumar, from his younger days to the legend he has now become. He went on to describe his earlier works which were figurative in its approach. There was an anxious dichotomy to his earlier works. There was a formalist structure in his earlier works which would later evolve into an abstraction, which became the defining factor of his later works.
The next speaker, Sri Jawhar Goyel was fondly narrating the day when Satyajit Ray came to one of his exhibitions and enquired about the lack of figurative representations. Ramkumar promptly replied that he was not trying to say anything or rather represent nothing. His works represent an existential tranquility. He with a hint of nostalgia; recollected their walks down college street, in the narrow lanes, the dilapidated structures taking in the beauty of the landscape which would later find form in his works. His works as a writer were often overshadowed by his career as a painter. His writings were primarily in Hindi and his language much like his art was sublime in its nature. The renowned art critic, Mr. Nanak Ganguly, said how in his early days he belonged to a secret fan club dedicated to Ramkumar. He described how wonderfully warm he was as a person.
Smt Gagan Gill shared some personal memories of Ramkumar as a young man. Her stories transformed legend into a deeply sensitive person. She spoke about his career as a writer. The series talks gradually lead to a more informal discussion between the audience.