This year, a number of exhibits, lectures and shows have been held to pay tribute to Rabindranath Tagore to mark his 150th birth anniversary. Now, another one is set to take place in the city, starting this weekend.
Shesh Lekha features 15 of Tagore’s poems, translated and written in calligraphy by producer Pritish Nandy, accompanied by watercolour landscapes by Paresh Maity to correspond with the words.
“I picked up some of Tagore’s last works, which were written in the last 18 months of his life,” says Nandy, adding, “Critics believe that these are possibly his finest works. And none of them are depressing, sad or tragic; they’re all magical.” Nandy translated all of them from Bengali to English, rendering them in calligraphy, since Tagore was best known for his hand-written poems.
His partner for the show, Maity, meanwhile, had the task of illustrating the poems, a process that took him almost six months. “The works are all 40x60 inches, which is really huge, so they took a lot of time to complete. I’m also displaying some of the preliminary sketches. I had to read the poems several times to absorb them,” explains the artist.
For Maity, it was his own desire to pay homage to Tagore that transpired in this exhibit. Nandy, too, was keen to do his bit for the Nobel laureate: “I was keen to discover a way by which we could bring some interest back into Tagore’s work.”
Shesh Lekha first opened in Delhi, receiving an encouraging response. The show, supported by Art Alive Gallery and sponsored by the Government of India will travel to Kolkata next.