NANDAN MELA SPECIALS : A rare and exciting Annual of Student Art

The epicentre of young, student art, for the moment, is now Shantiniketan – Vishva Bharati’s Art section, called Kala Bhavan.
For about 15 days now, all the students here have been engaged in a frenzy of activity. They have been producing and finishing hundreds of works of art and craft for a unique art fair that is held on the 1st and 2nd of December ever year  – the Nandan Mela.

For those who know about this event, Shantiniketan is the place to be in over these two days. This is because this Art Fair is an event organised and participated in by the students and their teachers – many of them in an advisory role. For this event whole Departments work together to make compelling works that can sell to a large gathering of buyers over these two days. The buyers comprise seasoned art collectors nowadays, because they have come to know of the importance of this event now. But the crowds that come also include tourists, local people and those who live in the neighbouring towns and villages – people who have come to the local ‘mela’ for the fun of it.

Another thing to note is that the works of the teachers are sold at higher prices, obviously. Most of this work is of a high standard and available here more cheaply than they would be anywhere else. This is a major attraction for the knowledgeable buyers.


Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners, 1857

Realism emerged in the art world in the 19th century in Europe. Artists moved away from the Age of Reason of the 18th century to a new need for creating art with historical and realistic accuracy. According to Honour and Fleming, the moderate painters of France were known as the juste milieu, or the happy medium. They painted in a style that “demanded detail – local colour in a literary as well as in an artistic sense – and detail rendered with illusionistic veracity; the button-hole of a cloak, the pommel of a dagger.”

Gustave Courbet – A Burial at Ornans

Some works of art in the Realist period echo the styles of earlier centuries, including Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic principles. Some Realists felt they were breaking with academic principles of art. Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) was a French painter who embodied the historic nature of Realism. He moved on from the self-articulated “trappings of Romanticism.” His first prominent work, A Burial at Ornans, was completed in 1850-1851. This painting arranges a community of people around a countryside burial site, complete with a Catholic priest, altar boys, and a deacon carrying a crucifix. The crowd is arranged in vivid detail around the central burial site. The human expressions are sombre in keeping with the event.

Manet - The-luncheon-on-the-grass-1863
Manet – The-luncheon-on-the-grass-1863

As another leading Realist, Edouard Manet (1832-1883), shows a very different style in painting that would soon give way to Impressionism. Manet painted humans in natural settings like Luncheon on the Grass (1863). In this composition, a pale, naked woman lounges beneath the trees in the company of two well-dressed gentlemen. In the background, another woman clad in a white nightgown bends over the grass in deep thought. An oil on canvas, Luncheon on the Grass shows the influences of great painters like Raphael, but the artistic style is still groundbreaking.

Madame X, a painting by John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925)
Madame X, a painting by John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925)

In the United States, Realists also continued the true depiction of subjects. With Madame X (1884), John Sargent (1856-1926) presents a beautifully-endowed woman with creamy skin. She turns to the left away from the audience. Dressed in a black formal gown, her delicate hand rests on a short table. This painting shows how the depiction of human forms differed from, but also echoed, the 17th century works of painters like Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens.

Claude Monet (French, 1840 - 1926 ), The Japanese Footbridge, 1899, oil on canvas, Gift of Victoria Nebeker Coberly, in memory of her son John W. Mudd, and Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg

Claude Monet, The Japanese Footbridge, 1899

When you consider works of art from the Realist period in the nineteenth century, you are not yet prepared for Monet’s sudden breakthrough called Impressionism. One might argue that Edouard Manet’s works suggest the new style, but avant-garde artists such as the Impressionists would naturally continue with tradition, including Manet’s theme of bourgeois relaxing in the park.


Abhisek Paul was born in 1993 and studied for his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Indian College of Art, Kolkata, after his Class 12. He is currently in his final year. Abhisek is also engaged in a course in Mass Communication.
Abhisek’s key subjects are landscapes and the exploration between human life and the unseen spirit.
Abhisek Paul’s works speak about life as a narrative exercise. He explores different ways of seeing the world around him and remains conscious of an ‘otherness’ or an out-of-body experience which is in dialogue with himself. His works emanate from the co-relation of these two standpoints.
In his works space and time collides to describe a state of being that requires no response.


Buddhist Arts Of India
31st Oct – 30th Nov, 10:00am – 05:00pm
National Museum, Janpath, Near Vighyan Bhawan, Connaught Place, Central, Delhi NCR

The art exhibition at National Museum will provide a glimpse of the inspiring leader, The Great Buddha. The masterpieces of Buddhist Art from across the nation will be displayed. Buddhism, which originated in India, has followers all around the world. There will be around 91 art pieces showcased in the exhibition that include sculptures, manuscripts and other items holding significance in Buddhism.

Note: The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays

Le Corbusier: Mastering The Image
6th Nov – 23rd Nov, 10:00am – 05:00pm
Embassy of Switzerland, PO. Box – 392, Nyaya Marg, Near New Sikkim House Restaurant, Chanakyapuri, South, Delhi NCR

On the occasion of the 50th death anniversary of Le Corbusier, the Embassy of Switzerland is organising an exhibition with over 150 photographs documenting the life and works of the acclaimed architect. The works showcase his modernity and his fascination for new ideas.

Esoteric Expressions
21st Oct – 21st Nov, 11:00am – 07:00pm
Gallerie Ganesha, Plot No. E – 557, Near New Haven Hotel, Greater Kailash 2, South, Delhi NCR

Gallerie Ganesha is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an art exhibition by acclaimed artist, K S Kulkarni. He has been art director of Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi and has participated in international art shows.
The exhibition will consist of 26 of his artworks done of different mediums such as paper, jute and canvas. Most of the works were done in the eighty’s and ninetys which represents amalgamation of traditional values with modern trends.
Entry: Free

A Brush With Secularism
17th Oct – 29th Nov, 11:00am – 07:00pm
Art Laureate, F–213A, Lado Sarai, Saket, South, Delhi NCR

Art Laureate is hosting a group exhibition by renowned artists such as Sangeeta Murthy, Kishore Roy, Ram Onkar, Rakesh Mandal, Shalini, Joshua, Anita, Saumya Bandyopadhyay and Bipin Martha. The art exhibition is based on the idea of secularism that celebrates unity in diversity and binds every citizen together. The different artworks show that be it Ganesha, Krishna or Buddha, the message remains the same which is tolerance, love and compassion.

Entry: Free


Glass blowing is an ancient art form, originally used for making bottles and tableware. In modern times there are scientific applications for glass blowing, but the technique is more commonly used to create decorative objects. Glass blowers, also called glassmiths or gaffers, use three separate apparatuses or divisions of a furnace to gather the molten glass, reheat it to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the creative process, and to gradually cool the final product.

Traditionally, glass blowing has been used for bottles, especially small ones for perfume and for tableware such as stemmed glasses. Hand-blown stemware is still a popular outlet for glass blowing artists; decorative art and glassware used in scientific settings, such as chemistry labs, are other uses for this talent.

Glass blowing is taught at specific schools, art studios, and art galleries across the U.S. Prospective glass blowers may find undergraduate fine arts programs with a concentration in glass that includes glass blowing techniques. Training under a glass blowing professional or taking non-credit classes or workshops in glass blowing are also ways that glass blowers can hone their skills.

Glass blowing involves a very specific skill set. It requires patience, heat tolerance, and willingness to work in potentially hazardous conditions. Glass blowing technique involves handling molten glass, as well as a variety of tools, metals, and dyes for decoration and scientific notation.


We, at Early Works Art Gallery look at the art that is produced by young artists and artists at the beginning of their career. This is our main thrust. In happy consonance, therefore, we are happy to discuss today a very young art form that was developed in the very late decades of the last century. Practitioners of this art form are, perforce, young at heart and ready to experiment, breaking away from older, traditional forms of artistic expression. This type of art is called Fractal Art.
A type of algorithmic or computer-generated art, fractal art was developed in the 1980s. This art form is based on the calculations of fractal objects that are represented as images. fractal art is created with the use of computer software; it is not art that is rendered by hand. In some cases, non-fractal images are incorporated into the fractal design to create a type of hybrid work. Because they are based on mathematical formulae, fractals are an unusual art form, but one that has been embraced under the umbrella of digital art, and they are not the first instance where artists have relied on mathematics for artistic creation.

Fractals are graphical representations of equations and, like numbers themselves, the possibilities for unique fractal images are infinite. The mathematical equations or formulae used to create fractal art determine how each computer pixel is formed and coloured to create the resulting image. By modifying their formulae, artists can create unique art. Each work is typically represented by millions of pixels.

Digital artists have many fractal-generating software programs to choose from to create their art works. When creating fractal art, artists use their program of choice to set parameters for their work, executing their calculation or formula, and assessing their creation. Some artists will continue to modify their art work by loading it into other software programs that allow for further enhancements. The program known as Fractint is the first to be widely used by artists.

Interestingly, fractal art is not the first instance where artists combined art and mathematics. Ancient mosaics, oriental rugs, and cubist art, for example, demonstrate the links between math and art. As complex patterns, fractals can also be found in nature. The most famous work of fractal art is typically regarded as the Mandelbrot Set Fractal, which took nine hours to execute. There are many online galleries that showcase fractal art. Resulting works of fractal art have been used to create prints, screen savers, wallpaper, greeting cards, magnets, T-shirts, and much more.

Some notable artists who have used fractals to create art include William Latham, Vicky Brago-Mitchell, and Carlos Ginzburg. Major museums and art galleries around the world have showcased fractal art in exhibitions and, of course, permanent displays. Fractal art is not only created by artists but by mathematicians and amateurs who are interested in its concepts. Fractal art is regarded as distinct from computerized art that relies on the software to create; fractal art is directed entirely by the artist/mathematician and supported by their calculations and modifications.

William Latham

Blazing-cipher by Vicky Brago-Mitchell – used in Iphone cases

Carlos Ginzburg


Prof. Santanu Bhattacharya (b.1944) was Professor in the Printmaking Department of Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan till 2007. Despite certain physical challenges, Prof. Bhattacharya exhibits his multiple aptitudes in pictorial arts. His keen interest in folk rituals and motifs and especially in Bengali floor decorations (alpona) are often reflected in his works. The rustic life is his inspiration. Thus mythological narration recurs as a thematic preference. His spirit is that of a modern artist who does not reject tradition but assimilates it to arrive at a new genre. The icons he paints no longer boast about their divinity; rather they come close to the mundane world. At times he arrives at a highly sophisticated stylistic rendition where bold lines dominate the construction. His landscapes give a panoramic view with commonly seen motifs.

Here are some of the works of Prof Santanu Bhattacharya’s that are with us, from the early days of his career.

Graffiti Artists In Chennai

These artists are transforming the city, one wall at a time.
What began as a form of rebellion has now grown into a beautiful art form. We’re talking about graffiti, of course. Our city is embracing this art movement with a new breed of creative artists who are giving abandoned walls, stations, bus stands, subways and street corners a fresh lease of life. Armed with spray paints and masks, these artists are using graffiti and street art to highlight social issues and in the process, give our city the makeover it deserves.

The city’s first graffiti crew, this group comprises some of the most talented band of artists who are gradually transforming the city with some really powerful work. The quartet headed by Prasanth Baskaran and Akhil specialises in street art and graffiti and are responsible for almost 70% of all the major graffiti works in the city. While Prashanth is a graffiti writer and specialises in fonts and letter designs, Akhil and others are painters who mainly carve the figures. After making their mark at the massive art event, ‘Conquer The Concrete’ with the Goethe-Institute and Max Mueller Bhavan of Chennai, T3K started work on legal walls for political projects and commercial projects such as painting cafes and clubs. Apart from weekend graffiti workshops at schools and colleges, they also create murals and depict various environmental issues through their abstract work.
Call them at +91 9677947037.

Started in 2009 by the one of the most popular contemporary graffiti artists in the city, Joyston Christopher Vaz, Coloured Particles is a street art crew whose major works include various murals with intricate 3D designs using spray paints and air brushes. While walking past the streets of Chennai, it is hard to miss the group’s street art. They create images and words with acrylic and car paints. The 25-year-old visual communication graduate from Loyola College had earlier worked in an advertising department when graffiti began as a hobby with no professional training. The crew includes Khaleel Khan, Yamini Krishnamurthy and Apoorva Unniyal who along with Joyston have a wide repertoire of art work including majestic eagles and retro rock stars to a serene Buddha surrounded by dripping trails of paintand square 3D blocks that changes shape at different angles. While Khaleel handles fabrication and stenciling work, Yamini is a fashion photographer and an assistant director in the Tamil film industry and Apoorva is a model and a marketing graduate who handles the marketing of the brand. Their clientele includes Titan, Hindustan Engineering College, Rediffusion and ITC, to name a few.
Call them at +91 9840590018

Led by a motley crew of young and talented artists, this group aims to change the way the city looks. They have collaborated with school and college students to produce some of the most vibrant works of art. Graphic designer Namrata Ramaratnam and her brother Thejas Ramaratnam, a corporate communicator, along with Hari and Eeswar helm the creative effort and their experiments with graffiti art began 6 months ago. They have cleaned the garbage, scraped and whitewashed the walls at many popular areas like Besant Nagar, Mandaveli, Egmore and Guindy and transformed them with their quirky art. Their idea is to encourage more people to take upgraffiti and engage with interested painters and civic enthusiasts to bring about a bright change.
Call them at +91 9940195897

Curated by talented artists Ashwin Karupaiah and Karthick Chidambaram, Art Lab from Vadapalani is one of the first graffiti crews from the city to display their work in cities such as Delhi, among others. For 21 year-old CA intern, Ashwin who is a passionate artist, the city is his canvas and his work adorns many a wall across neighbourhoods. From conducting workshops and tutorials to working on murals for MNCs, shops and cafés, this collective has done it all. They recently did a huge graffiti for Covelong Surfing and Music Festival, but it is their head-turning portrait of a child on the wall of Tuscana Pizzeria at Nungambakkam that is a clear winner.
Call them at +91 9840113911


The materials, methods and techniques for conservation are many and would take up a lot of space to write about. We have a pdf file for you, for your ready reference.
But before you dip into the writing, let us be clear about the reasons why conservation is so important and is, indeed, a very major part of the activity in the Art World today.

It is because Art is a record of man’s progress through the ages. I am referring to visual art. All art is an endeavour towards beauty and an understanding of life and the human condition. Great art is universal and appeals to people of different age groups, cultures and time periods. This is the sort of Art that stays on with us in the history of humans. They go on to define us. Great Art is the pinnacle of human spirit and achievement. Many people have compared Art to God, by which they mean – Godliness. It can be timeless and wondrous in a way that few other human achievements can be.
Art also moves us and changes us. While experiencing great Art – be it a play, a film or a novel, a painting a piece of sculpture or a dance performance – we are transformed through the experience. Our lives are enriched and we have more in us than we had before the experience.

There are different ways of preserving different forms of art. Cinemas, literature, dance… all have their own ways of being preserved. Today a lot of technology is being used in preservation as well.
What about the oldest stories that used to be handed down through word of mouth, from generation to generation? That is how we got our great epics – both in the Western and in the Eastern world. Keeping the oral tradition alive has been particularly difficult in our times. Much of the tribal populations and peoples without a written script take recourse to oral traditions. With the gentrification of the tribal and their moving away to live and work in modern towns and cities, the age old cadences of life as well as their oral traditions are at a danger of being lost.

We, at the Early Works Art Gallery are more concerned with the Visual Arts and so we would concentrate on the techniques used in preserving those art forms that fall under our purview.
As a basic primer, and to understand the complex processes used to conserve art, we share with you this file:


Artists down the generations – practicing all modes, and all the people since the earliest times who have appreciated art are the most resounding response to the question – why does art matter? In art we have something that cannot be priced, is invaluable, and yet, sold for thousands and millions of dollars. The understanding of art can be personal and the value one person puts on a piece of art may not be the worth that another person thinks that same artwork is. Therefore, much of art is subjective. But there are also some universal parameters that distinguish great art from the ordinary.
Jules Cavanaugh, an art critic and blogger on art, asks about art, “What is the tie that binds?
It is the compulsion to create an image, a form, that embodies this message: “I am. I live. This is me.”
Poignancy lies heavy, for captured in the same instant of these vigorous salutes to life, is the inescapable fact of individual mortality. Yet, in these two salutes to life, I am united with each. This ‘collapsing of time’ evokes a sense of continuity of life that far exceeds the limits of my own oh-so-short time here.
In a beautifully written piece Cavanaugh makes an impassioned case for the importance of art – both generally and personally, complete with illustrations and examples. Let this be the article of the day for us on the category of art history.