| ...Tapan Kar the famous artist and painter of our time, apart from his being acknowledged as a poet, an author of several books on art and literature, was born in West Bengal in the year 1954. I have visited Tapan’s studio for a write-up on his paintings his ensuing exhibitions at different centers of our our country – from Delhi to Chennai, Gujrat to Bangalore. I will like to share my experience with the readers of this article on how I access Tapan as an artist in view of how I Saw him grow over last three decades.
After his school days, Tapan went straight to the Govt. Art collage for admission. He did not even try other option. He had no brush of his own, the right sketch pencil or an eraser either to compete with the affluent boys in the admission test. But he got though. He succeeded. He always dreamt from his childhood he would become an artist. He had all devotions and dedications. He plunged headlong to reach the goal. He never look behind. Tuned with the turmoil and spirit of the 70s, he edited little mags, spent hours and hours together of our vibrant youth. He wanted to became an author. But tapan’s efforts did not end with his pen. He wanted to be a painter.
The proverb goes – poetry follows paintings. The strongest point of Tapan Kar, as as painter, lies in his powerful drawing. If drawing poor or sub-standard color cannot compensate or make good for the same. His might in drawing own fame and fans. Fantastic his paintings?
The reaction is probably bit mixed. The critics belong to deferent schools of thoughts. In the name if modern art we learn to judge or appreciates a piece of art a painting a ketch, a drawing a sculpture by bester n parameters. Tapan was and remains too conceptually dear all along about what he wanted or wants to communicate and how. This helped Tapan consolidate his conviction and standpoint with the passage of time to where he is now.
Tapan in his career privilege to tour the Bengal villages afar and near extensively in the capacity of a field investigator of the Kolkata University in the lade 70s and early 80s. He deeply observed by places and people. With the teaching of Tarapada santra and others he also developed his interest in folk culture and art. This again deeply influenced the forms and contents of his Art. Tapan is never unnecessarily difficult. His work are not made difficult for a modern logo endorsed by a so- called elite. ( It’s a relief however elites are engaged in post modern debate ). Tapan is apparently simple in his form but highly expressive. Ethnic and even evocative of the Indian pot parampara. Tapan might have been influenced by Jamini Roy and other great. A further study finds his own signature as well. He is also a poet. He makes poetic experiments in his paintings with his apt and able stokes. In tempera water, oil co lour and even in his sculpture he has proved his skill beyond about. His use of the canvas is grammatical, use of color is powerful. Some times his colour is even undertone compared to a loud and vocal drawing. But that was not his fault. That was all the wanted.
Tapan’s commitment for art and life has not precedence too. He joined a government as a art teacher after grounding from the art collage subsequently he did his MA Bengali literature but declined the offer of a higher scale to remain a whole timer of art. He remains so.
Tapan also made unique experiments potter’s wheel hitherto unknown to the art – world. Earthen glasses and pots and have already lost market share to paper and plastic substitutes. The potters no further find pottery a lucrative option for the livelihood. They have already in large number embraced other professions, trade or craft. Tapan collected an idle potter’s wheel improved with ball and bearing from a frustrated village potter. He failed to use wheel himself. He realized this required skill and experience that the potter inherit, and he had to earn and developed. Tapan had novel ideas for their survival. Potters should go for new clay products. From the wheel Tapan developed piece – meal human and deity from like trunk of an elephant, limbs and got those assemble for the Ganesh idol and other figures. He also engaged in his workshop a no of potters who were leaving their family tradition and thus saved the society from an ethnic damage. Initially his take home pay had to be partly consumed for such uncertain venture at the cost of his family's budgetary allocations. But nothing could stop Tapan from his urge to see his dream come true.
Finally I like to remind the viewers of this article the social & political impact his paintings Keshpur, Nanur & Chotto Anguria series has created in West Bengal and elsewhere in our country in the year 2000. He did not fear that the ruling party could be antagonized. Media praised his works. The party aware of his roots in the masses had to keep mum until "peace" apparently restored after a couple of months. Ruling party did not forget Tapan's paintings. They made headlines for the news of peace in Keshpur & started the right up with an initial reference of his relevant paintings. They also ended their columns with a call for Tapan's re-visit to the villages which were victim of mass killings (ref: Ganashakti - 19th sep 2000).
In the wake of globalization we are now being accustomed with new values & standards. In our country we are yet to experience its thrust in marketing & mobility of art products. Books can be printed, sold. Art product do not enjoy that privilege. Then exhibition are also costly affairs. Its good that sponsors are now coming forward in larger numbers in promoting art & the artists. I am thankful to the sponsor of Tapan & other painters to provide us with an opportunity to view their works at web across the world. Let the sponsors mean business in true sense of the term. Let art, artists & art lovers benefit...
- PARTHA BASU (POET