Kapilas Bhuyan

It was an opportunity last Friday to witness the presentation by Bhabani Sankar Das, a young Odia artist about his perception and artistic expression of the age old temple architecture of Bhubaneswar. The event was part of the monthly program ‘Kala Dhara’ under the aegis of Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Center here.

Bhabani, who was born and brought up in Koraput, and later graduated in Commercial Art at the Govt. College of Art and Craft, Khallikote before arriving at Bhubaneswar to lead the life of an artist. The 36-year old Bhabani, though a young artist had a very remarkabke journey being a recipient of multiple awards and accolades for his works created over a decade. Some of the awards among these are like, National Award at the 12th Eastern Regional Art Exhibition, Menton Revier Art Award 2017, Monaco, France, State Award 2014 from Lalit Kala Akademy, Odisha, Raphael of East 2014 and Visual Verses Award 2018, etc. Besides, he also had participated in many art camps and exhibitions inside the country and outside.

He subsequently did his Masters in Architecture at Silk Road University of Tourism and Cultural Heritage, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and now back in Bhubaneswar. During his stay here, he was always attracted to the Old Town part of the city which is like a living museum of temples built over a thousand years.

During his presentation what he had tried to bring to notice of the audience was that these temples might be old, but they are living and kicking imaginations of the visitors those who are sensitive towards those monuments. His continuous visit to view those temples could make him sensitive enough to feel the softness of the stony textures of the sculptures. He had cited the example of the female figurines of the Mukteswar temple and expressed his perception by saying that he could feel the softness of the Sakhis and Narttakis.

The sensitiveness during the visit and viewing the temples subsequently paid divident to Bhabani. He could see the mesmerising effect of the filled in and empty panels of the old temples and wielded his brush to paint his work of art.

That’s why perhaps he had titled his presentation as ‘Parallel Space’! Unlike parallel lines those which never meets, parallel space though don’t overlap, yet one space influences the other. That’s how the age old temples of another time could influence a contemporary artist at a different time and space.

The presentation by Bhabani Sankar Das was both demonstrative and smooth going by his simple way of connecting and expressing his artistic endeavors.

Besides, Bhabani not only paints the temples or landscapes, he also is a fine artist of portraiture. His portrayal of Dr. Dinanath Pathy, founder principal of B. K. College of Art and Crafts really stands a proof of Bhabani’s capacity as a portraiture artist.

Despite being qualified as a commercial artist, he stands out for his creative oeuvres among the lot of young artists of Odisha today.

(The writer is a Senior Journalist and National Award-winning filmmaker. Opinions are personal.)