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Genesis from catastrophe

Artist Mrityunjay Mondal's work finds hope amidst tragedy and draws inspiration from saints, writes Reema Gehi.

art and culture Updated: Jan 28, 2008 17:19 IST
Reema Gehi

After a hiatus of five years, artist Mrityunjay Mondal is presenting a solo show, The Classical Contemporary.

Within the first few days, his work that draws from the lives of Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ and Gautam Buddha is all sold out. Amongst 22 paintings, his interpretation of The Last Supper is the most striking.

Surrounded by his large acrylic paintings, in Tardeo's India Fine Art Gallery, the 39-year-old artist says, "I am not endorsing a religion or teaching any lessons through my paintings. My work depicts my inner feelings"

The 7/11 train blasts in Mumbai, spurred Mondal to dwell on the psyche of the wrongdoers.

Bigger picture
His quest to depict the traumatic incidents began over a year ago. He found a metaphor in The Last Supper which depicts the act of betrayal that later led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. <b1>

Mondal's strong aversion to violence is depicted through a series of paintings in which Buddha and Mother Teresa find solace within them by helping others.

The reticent artist elaborates, "I strive to find peace and strength from their teachings."

Changing ideas
Mondal's sixth solo show is strikingly different from his previous exhibition in 2003-In Between, where landscapes and nature were dominant. The artworks had portrayed Mondal's exasperation towards the space constrains in the city.

Mondal, who now lives in Kandivli says, "I still prefer my hometown Dhaltitha, a village in West Bengal over a metropolis like Mumbai. Open space is luxury here."

Art runs in the Mondal family. The painter's elder brother Samir's exhibition will preview at the Jehangir art gallery today.

Mondal's eyes light up when he speaks about Samir. He says, "I am looking forward to his show. My brother is a father figure to me. He is my biggest critic."