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#banglanatak dot com & #biswabangla presents #Patachitra & #WoodenMask artists in #UK at #GodsandDemons in #London, #Edinburgh & #Glasgow

West Bengal government’s initiative Biswa Bangla in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and London's Nehru Centre showcased the exhibition titled ‘Gods & Demons’ from May 3-15, 2016 at London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Nirmalya Roy our Project Coordinator, Rural Craft Hub along with two folk artists namely Shankar Das and Suman Chitrakar belonging to Wooden Mask and Patachitra art form respectively participated in the exhibition. The exhibition attracted members of the British-Indian community as well as an eclectic mix of international craft patrons and a diverse audience from the art world. The ‘Gods & Demons’ exhibition focused on the making and rich history of the Masks of Bengal and the visual storytelling form of Patachitra. 

The exhibitions were showcased at the Nehru Centre, London, the Edinburgh Museum, and the Southside Fringe Festival in Glasgow. The most exciting part of the show was the live demonstrations by Shankar Das and Suman Chitrakar. Through these demonstrations, students, children, artists and art lovers got deeply involved in the process and interacted with the makers, thus preserving the traditions and rich cultural heritage of West Bengal.

In fact, Shankar Das’s excitement was evident when he said that” It was an enriching experience. I was surprised that we got to eat Indian food in London. It made me feel at home. Edinburgh is beautiful but, I enjoyed exhibiting at Nehru Center, London and Glasgow the most. People were so nice and took so much interest in our tradition.” Further Shankar realized the importance of carrying small masks and it is evident when he said that “I also feel for any such foreign trips, we should avoid big and demonic masks. We should take more of 3-6 inches masks which will be easier to carry and sell".

Suman Chitrakar was awestruck by the respect and appreciation for Indian art in London. His feelings were articulated when he expressed his feelings that “"I loved the atmosphere and ambiance of London. People there have a lot of respect and appreciation for Indian art. The people who attended our workshops and exhibitions were so eager to learn about our tradition and were so appreciative. Some people bought our crafts. I feel it was a good promotion. It was my first ever foreign trip and I loved their disciplined way of life. It was a wonderful experience for me”.

Dignitaries like Director of Nehru Centre, Deputy High Commissioner, attended the exhibition.

Nirmalya Roy, Project Coordinator, Rural Craft Hub, banglanatak dot com observed that the participants in the demonstration workshop shared whatever information they could gather with the two artists. Suman Chitrakar instantly struck a chord with children who tried their hands on learning Patachitra. Nirmalya further hoped that the artists have returned with fond memories and felt that it was a good opportunity created by Biswa Bangla. He was also optimistic that ‘any such future event selling opportunities should also be explored’. 


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