Exhibition at Alipore Jail Museum features artworks on ‘Freedom and Awakening’

PTI | | Posted by Akanksha Agnihotri, Kolkata
Feb 28, 2023 04:57 PM IST

An exhibition titled 'Freedom and Awakening' has opened at the Alipore Jail Museum in southern Kolkata, showcasing paintings from 23 artists such as Jogen Chowdhury and Shuvaprasanna.

The paintings of 23 artists, including Jogen Chowdhury and Shuvaprasanna, are on display at an exhibition ‘Freedom and Awakening’ on the premises of Alipore Jail Museum in south Kolkata. The artworks, which include “Bharatmata” by Abanindranath Tagore, are on display at the gallery, converted from a prison cell.

The artworks, which include “Bharatmata” by Abanindranath Tagore, are on display at the gallery, converted from a prison cell.(PTI photo)
The artworks, which include “Bharatmata” by Abanindranath Tagore, are on display at the gallery, converted from a prison cell.(PTI photo)

A spokesperson of Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC), which in collaboration with the Department of Correctional Homes, Government of West Bengal curated the exhibition, said the initiative would encourage newer conversations around the ideas of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Independence’ through artworks by distinguished artists.

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Speaking at a panel discussion on Monday, painter Shuvaprasanna said, "The extraordinary unity amidst the vast diversity of religion, language and culture and the wonderful trait of welcoming everyone as our own shows the way of inclusivity to the world. The country, that is home to Buddha, Guru Nanak, Sri Chaitanya, Kabir, Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, without a doubt will win the world through the path of peace and harmony. The exhibition is themed on that spirit."

He said the role of an artist is to awaken the soul of an individual, as a creative person has the vision and social awareness to do so. Noting that artists are citizens of the world as they are not limited by geographical boundaries, the acclaimed painter said on the one hand they live in their own land but on the other hand, they are in possession of an inherent free spirit.

"Happy that our artworks are finding pride of place at a historic place like Alipore Correctional Home, which is an integral part of our freedom movement," Shuvaprasanna told PTI. The Alipore Jail Museum area consists of gallows, a watch tower, special cells, general cells, a library, a seminar hall, a light and sound show and exhibitions (one in Cell 5 and another in the Hospital Building).

"We will be happy if more people turn up, see the artworks along with other rooms, which are the repository of documents and articles associated with jailed freedom fighters and our freedom movement,” he said. In a message from Santiniketan, eminent painter Jogen Chowdhury said, "We got freedom at the cost of the partition of Punjab and Bengal. Bengal was also struck by riots and famine." And this memory is inseparable from the memory of freedom at midnight, he said.

"I believe that an artist's role is to be creatively engaged in his/her work of art. If we ponder deeply, we realise that throughout history, artists, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians, dramatists and poets have created momentous works of art, works which have changed the course of the visual landscape of our life and environment. These creations have turned into milestones of our journey of civilisation transforming society and individual," he said.

An artist can express his ideas through artwork and he can voice protest whenever he feels like it through his creations, he said. Paintings by well-known contemporary artists from across the country, including Tom J Vattakuzhy from Kerala, Deepak Poulose from Kerala, and T V Santhosh from Mumbai, are also on display at the exhibition. The Alipore Jail Museum was opened on September 21, last year by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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