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Subhaprasanna at Science City, Kolkata.
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Education||Indian College of Arts, Kolkata.|
|Notable work||Vastraharan, Middletone, Golden Flute, The Crows, The Owl, Abode, Cat 3, Illusion, A fairy tale, Golden|
Subhaprasanna Bhattacharjee is an Indian artist, born in Kolkata in 1947. He graduated from the Indian College of Arts (Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata) in 1969. He was an active member of the 'Calcutta Painters' group. He is married to artist Shipra Bhattacharya.
The city of Kolkata has always figured prominently in his work. His themes come from his personal interactions with its urban milieu - its sickness and sordidness, its violence and vulnerability and all that compounds its existential agony. In the 1960s and 1971s his work was influenced by the turbulence and political violence of Kolkata.
Subhaprasanna has depicted varying moods of the city and its people, its places, and all its facets that make the city distinctive. As he states, "There isn’t another city like Kolkata anywhere in the world. In the heart of it, I find innumerable themes, subjects." He does not merely portray reality as 'matter of fact' and his presentation of reality often has dream-like elements in it. In terms of technique, Subhaprasanna boasts a precise, finely executed style that yields an unmistakable visual intensity. He works comfortably in an assortment of media, including oil on canvas, charcoal, and mixed media.
Explaining his thought-process and philosophy as a painter, he notes: "What every creator wishes to achieve is a universal appeal. There should be no language problem while judging the merits of a painting. One should go beyond themes, beyond words. There can be no clear cut definition for feelings, nor should you wish to seek any logical explanation."
Subhaprasanna's series of paintings, Icons and Illusions, marked a creative breakthrough for the artist in a number of ways. Whereas he had been known in the past as an urban artist with subject matter that reflected the byways, alleyways, birds, and people of his native Kolkata, in this series he relished more in divinities and flowers. The iconic figures of Krishna, Radha, and Ganesha that found lyrical expression in the Icons series are modern representations and sophisticated idealizations of the same images in the popular media.
Since 2007, after his painting career was down, Shuvaprasanna's involvement in politics of West Bengal state increased. Since then he has been closely associated with Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee. Before the 2011 assembly election he became a prominent face to campaign for parivartan. In recognition to his support, the then Railway minister Mamata Banerjee created a new department in the railway ministry and made him chairperson of that department. He was given a salary of Rs. 50,000 with other perks and benefits. Later, he was found to misuse his position, never seen doing any duty of the department for which he drew such a huge salary. He has been termed as  'key advisor' to Ms Banerjee by media. Of late[when?] he has been trying to launch a channel of his own to promote his ideas and politics. However this has run into bad weather as he has been caught using the name of Ms Banerjee and raising funds in the name of her. Mamata trying to protect her name has started distancing herself from the painter. Recently, he compared Mamata's art to that of Rabindranath Tagore drawing critical comments from the intellectuals of Bengal. Recently ED seized some properties of the painter for his alleged involvement in multicrore Shardha scam. Subhaprasanna has been the subject of utter disgrace to the ruling party of West Bengal.
Sushma Bahl (Herausgeber), Black Brown & The Blue - Shuvaprasanna. Roli Books, New Delhi 2011, ISBN 978-81-7436-827-0
Chitrotpala Mukherjee, Shuvaprasanna - Vision: Reality & Beyond, Art Indus, New Delhi, 1999, ISBN 81-87670-00-2
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