Words and paintbrushes tell stories. Many acclaimed writers like Gunter Grass, Henry Miller and Rabindranath Tagore were also painters. When a group of eight painters of Rangrez Oman, the artist group of Indian Social Club (ISC) put their love of books on canvas, it opened up new ways to appreciate these stories and thought processes of writers.
Rangrez Oman, the artist group of Indian Social Club (ISC), is set to end 2021 on a promising note. Due to the pandemic the year was mostly spent in a lock-down mode. But the artists of the group boldly took on different challenges by their in-house curators every month.
Khursheed Raja, the curator of the show titled Ekphrasis’ (description in Greek) and an avid reader, chose The Overstory, an environmental fiction by Richard Powers.
She chose this book as it exudes love for trees on every page. “It makes us aware of the vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, inventive and nearly invisible world of trees that exists alongside our own. It awakens in us a sense of urgency and a desire to preserve the environment from greedy exploitation, for our survival.”
Shalini Kartik was inspired by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Parineeta, a 1914 Bengali novel whose protagonist is reunited with the love of life against all odds.
Prakashan Puthur was drawn to Blindness by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago. “We realise the value of sight only when we are about to lose it and the book has had a great impact on me.”
Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is Sheffy Tattarath's favourite. “I believe that our life is magical however we are still searching for magic in the outside world, so we often miss its real magic.”
For Uma Gopinath, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was the first book which she received from her school as a recognition of academic achievement during her 6th grade. “Intrigued by the book, I was drawn towards more adventure and mystery and bringing back a sense of nostalgia, which made me select this title to be represented through art.”
Showbi Nowshad chose Macbeth by William Shakespeare. “I chose this novel because it was a riveting piece of work by Shakespeare, and the story gave me a new perspective of life. It throws light on the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition, on those people, who seek power for their own sake.”
Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni reminded Sushmita Gupta her childhood. “The story is flung far between two continents. It is set in a traditional Bengali family and then far across on the shores of San Francisco. The Bengali references in the book resonate with me like some old childhood lullaby.”
Harini Kumar chose Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté.
“I have loved reading this book since my teenage days and chose to paint it out of curiosity to see what my representation of the subject would be and how it would appear.” Wuthering Heights was one of her very first classic reads in which she was captivated by the characters and their eccentric behaviour. “I chose to paint it as I was interested in depicting the landscape of the painting in my style and wanted to see if I could bring out the wildness of the whole atmosphere.”