Review: exhibition of Haren Das works in Debovasha



Debovasha recently celebrated the centenary of Haren Das by organizing a huge exhibition of 115 of his works, some never before seen.



Soumitra Das

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Posted on 12.24.21, 23:59


Who said that the art of Haren Das (1921-1993), engraver par excellence, was limited to evoking the easy idylls of Bengal village life? So varied was his work that it is impossible to classify the artist born in the district of East Dinajpur, now in Bangladesh. Debovasha recently celebrated its centenary by organizing a huge exhibition of 115 of his works, some never before seen. It was probably his first solo exhibition. It included his iconic engraving of a plume of water spouting from a pump in which a boy bathes two buffaloes.

Endowed with the eye of a humanist, his works bring to life vivid vignettes of rural life, artisans at work, festivities, the harsh lives of city workers, vagrants and vagrants, all wearing the mark of his mastery of his profession, his drawing and the magic of chiaroscuro. His innovative use of negative space gave a dreamlike quality to his works. Das grew up in extreme poverty, but moved to Calcutta to be trained at the Government School of Art where he became a teacher later in his life. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who portrayed the horrors of famine or already experimented in a modernist fashion, Das contented himself with evoking the village life he had witnessed as a child without idealizing or romanticizing it.

Without breaking away from the academic realism taught in the art school, Das, with great tenderness, took the spectators through the ponds and scintillating streams, the groves and shady shrines and the fields that grew. the horizon long before being affected by industrialization. Even when he pointed to factory chimneys, they were relegated to the edges of the fields, almost out of sight. With great dexterity, Das also depicted the beaches of Puri dominated by the dark silhouettes of fishermen.


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