The latest issue of Art etc. news & views (June issue) is the first part of the Art of Bengal series. The current and its consecutive issues of Art etc. news & views have been divided more or less in a chronological order—the first dealing with the folksy-urban Kalighat and Bat-tala styles of painting which flourished side by side with what is known as the early Bengal school—spearheaded by Abanindranath, Gaganendranath, Nandalal Bose, and then carried forward by Hemen Majumdar, Atul Bose, Jamini Roy and others. In short, the period that was not only a mere art movement, but a force that also came to be associated with the Nationalist Movement during the British Raj. Influenced by the naturalists and the figurative paintings of the West, the Bengal School tried to develop a unique expression for itself, which was starkly different from the kind of art then being practiced elsewhere in India. It imbibed the technicalities of the West and was yet rooted firmly to the soil of its origin, a movement that can very well be described as the hotbed for the development of the modern Indian painting.
In the development of Indian modern art, or to be less controversial -art in the modern period of India's history, closer looks at the paradigm shifts are necessary for construction of micro-periods, based on the problems, choices and solutions consciously and/or semi-consciously made by the practitioners, are called for. Bengal art of the phase provide a field for observation of the dynamics of modern culture, in a culturally rich heritage, with Western art of various periods acting as catalysts of change, along with other values, artetc. news & views, in two issues, is set to look at this dynamics of cultural change (in the non-performing visual arts of Bengal), through disjunctures and new choices. The first issue concentrates attention — on reluctant disjunctions and hesitant choices - often impositions. Some of the disjunctions and choices causing the coming into being of new kind/school of art, as would be seen in the following pages, were resultant either of anonymous lead or of collective decision. Ipso facto, even though displaying individual talents, the art of these trends were essentially pre-individualist art. And, therefore, be termed as protomodern art. This issue, for that matter be called, as one on protomodern art of Bengal. The June issue is out now and will, for sure, satiate your expectations. A must read for for artists, art collectors, art enthusiasts and connoisseurs.