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      Like every other region of India, Bengal too has a long tradition of using visual motifs for decoration of houses, etc particularly during the festivals. "Alpana" art practiced mostly by women consists of using rice flour on the floor to make designs mostly in unbroken lines. Jogen Chaudhuri's works are mostly inspired by this unique Bengali folk art.

Kalighat patachitra on paper

A typical line drawing in a Kalighat pata

        But alpana is just one of many other art forms practised in Bengal like the "Patachitras" which are paintings on leaves done by an entire community of artists. While Patachitras in other parts of the country had always been religious in themes, in Bengal, they had once taken the dimension of keen fine art as they were used to make socio-political commentaries during the British rule. These Patas are today known as the Kalighat Patas.

Flat colours and bold lines were important features of paintings by Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy's painting shows inspiration of patachitras

        With such a rich variety of folk art traditions, it is quite natural to expect Bengali artists taking cue from them for enhancing their own styles. While the list of such artists is quite endless, it is one artist who probably epitomises this inspired lot; he is Jamini Roy. But in modern times too we have many important artists who take their cues directly from folk art-styles like Lalu Prosad Shaw and of course Jogen Choudhury 

 

 

 

 
    
     
 

        Jogen Chowdhuri, born in 1939 in the Faridpur District of present day Bangladesh is one among the many artists of Bengal who has his roots in the Eastern Bengal and who had shifted to India at the time of partition in the 1947. Like many other Bengalis of his generation Chaudhuri shows a deep fascination for the art-traditions that are now almost lost due to the politico-economic changes that are sweeping across West Bengal. His art of unbroken line as is practiced by women in alpana works is the hallmark of Choudhari’s paintings.

 

 Jogen Chaudhuri

Like Ganesh Paine, Sunil Das and many others of his generation, Jogen graduated from the government college of Art and Crafts, Calcutta, and then like Paritosh Sen started his career as an art teacher. He also worked in a Handloom House before leaving for art-studies once again to Ecole des Beaux Art, Paris. He returned to India later to work briefly again as a designer for a Handloom House. In 1972, he finally joined the Calcutta Painters’ Group . Chowdhury moved to Delhi in 1972 as the curator of the art collection at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Painting by Jogen Chaodhuri

  Two of Jogen Chowdhury's works one showing unbroken line drawing, the other showing colour in flat patches.

Jogen Chaudhury

In 1975, he along with some leading Delhi artists founded Gallery 26 and Artists' Forum. From 1976, onwards, Chowdhury participated in several exhibitions and art camps abroad. He published a joumal called Art Today in 1981 with Shuvaprasanna. 

Medium and technique of works     

        Choudhuri works mostly in oil and water colours and ink . Chowdhuri has also made a limited number of sculptures. Though he is predominantly popular for his line drawings in ink. 

Major Themes.

       Due to his long association with the handloom houses and because of his fascination for design concepts in alpana works that he had learnt from his mother, Chowdhury’s works show unbroken lines. His figures are often distorted, abstracted and in colour-works he uses flat colours with contrasting hues       

 

 
     
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