Between time and Eternity
To take the miniature landscapes of Bireswar Sen to Beijing in China at the BRICS Forum is indeed an exhibition of magnitude and magnificence.
Keeping with the spirit of the forum, the special exhibition of BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries kicked off last week on Thursday, at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) which hosted a major forum, 'Uniqueness and Convergence: Forum of BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries', which brought together the directors of national art museums and galleries from the five countries to discuss the current and future development of BRICS art.
Adwaita Gadanayak, Director General of NGMA, is back in the city after the historic opening in which Chinese visitors, viewers, art aficionados, BRICS patrons and members all found the show taken by NGMA Delhi to be one that was something to savour.
"I think they liked the tone of spirituality, they liked the composition of the landscapes - it had a rare Buddhist flavour that all of them somehow were deeply drawn into," Gadanayak. "I also noticed they didn't want to talk, they wanted to stand in silence and admire and kept clicking photographs. There is something so powerful about the Himalayas and what Sen has translated there is a strong Chinese flavour to the treatment of the works. It was wonderful and rewarding to see the impact and the great attention we got for the show."
Perhaps one of the finest miniature artists in the country, the miniature landscapes of Bireswar Sen are akin to poems in colour. In the limited space of 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches (the average dimensions of his works), he has shown infinite distances as well as lofty Himalayan snow peaks resplendent with the chromatic tones of both sunset and sunrise.
"Watching the Chinese show with so much interest was also like a learning experience for me," says Gadanayak. I felt that Sen was like a pilgrim of eternity. The exhibition was more than a voyage into the spiritualism that Sen's art embodies."
In China, the Sen show unravelled like a rendezvous into the abyss of the unknown and the re-definition of the known. It is this devoutness to his subject and composition that elevates Sen's work to that of mystical masterpieces in the domain of Indian art. "Sen was deeply influenced by the celebrated Russian painter, Nicholas Roerich, who propelled his interest in landscape painting," says Gadanayak. "But Roerich's paintings were full of the sweep and the majesty of the mountains, whereas Sen painted on a small, almost minute, scale but without losing the grandeur, and stateliness of the mountains." For the NGMA and the Ministry of Culture, the success of the show affirmed the power and intensity of works that traverse the symbolism between time and eternity.