International Art Exhibition of Bengal Art Factory & ICCR Held in Kolkata
| Didhiti Ghosh, Bureau Chief, IOP, Kolkata - 28 Dec 2018

CHRISTMAS IN BENGAL:

ARTISTS’ RENAISSANCE & NOVEL NICHES FOR BUSINESS

52 Rurban Artists showcased their painting, photography, and sculptures in stone, bronze, and iron

Indian Observer Post’s Senior Correspondent (Kolkata), Didhiti Ghosh interviewed the invited dignitaries and took a trip into their viewpoints on several of Bengal’s burning issues ranging from politics, business, industry, employment, land transport and reservation of minorities for education and employment opportunities.

Kolkata, Dec 27, 2018: Bengal Art Factory along with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (Kolkata) organized an international exhibition of painting, photography and sculptures in stone, bronze and iron where more than 52 rurban artists, painters, sculptors, photographers and art admirers put up their artworks for public display. The event will continue from the 24th till the 27th of December, 2018. 

“India has increased its collaborations with the Latin American and Caribbean regions, France, Spain, Germany, China, Russia and the United States in the field of art”, said Goutam De, Regional Director of ICCR (Kolkata) who inaugurated the festival. On this occasion, Protyush Ghosh (Deputy General Manager, Kolkata Metro Railway), Sujoy Biswas (Director & CEO, Techno India), Digbijoy Chakraborty (Director, Frost and Sullivan, South Asia, Middle East & North Africa), Megh Sayantani Ghosh (First transgender lawyer of India), Suresh Agarwal (President, The Global Academy), Md. Ehteshamul Haque Siddiqui (State Secretary, All India Trinamool Congress Minority Cell), Arunjyoti Mahathero (Director, Tollygunge Sambodhi Buddhist Monastery) and Arunima Dey (Film Producer & Director) were present.

Speaking about the occasion, Kinkar Banerjee, Founder-Director of Bengal Art Factory (BAF, estd. 2011) said, “The 155th exhibition of BAF, the Christmas Colour Carnival provides a platform for appreciation of talent, culture and art in an organized form where we give opportunities to the upcoming and professional artists to showcase their artworks and develop mutual network, collaboration and awareness of the demand present in their fields of interest.”

Expressing his happiness over the opening of the platform of mutual associations by BAF, Soumen Chakraborty, a member of the BAF Managing Board and a professional photographer, said that it is a proud moment for the organization to open a platform of mutual appreciation to both rural and urban artists from the not-so-prominent regions in and around Bengal. “We provide free of cost branding and media outreach to these obscure artists with so much of talent”, said Chakraborty, himself a participant.

Indian Observer Post’s Senior Correspondent (Kolkata), Didhiti Ghosh interviewed the invited dignitaries and took a trip into their viewpoints on several of Bengal’s burning issues ranging from politics, business, industry, employment, land transport and reservation of minorities for education and employment opportunities.

Megh Sayantani Ghosh, India’s first transgender lawyer and one of the invited, is also a Bharatnatyam dancer and founder of “Rudrapalash”, a school of classical dance in Bengal. She was happy to have achieved her recognition by the jurisdiction after fighting for her rights as a “woman in a man’s clothing in the midst of psychological chaos and societal cruelty” only after winning her first civil case in the court earlier this year. Even though the legal profession is supposed to be a neutral door to every person in society deserving justice, many professionals in this field are very biased when it comes to the aspect of choosing one’s right to gender identity and sharing the same human rights in society as all other individuals.

Dr. Sujoy Biswas, Director & CEO of Techno India Group, expressed his views towards the present system of higher education in West Bengal and the opportunities that high school graduates have by selecting a field in Science and Engineering. 

“Ever since the beginning of the Techno India venture, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has tremendously supported us and in fact, we were the first private university to get permission to start a full-fledged scheme in 2012 when no other private universities were there in West Bengal,” he said. The reason, he explained, was because of the fact that there was, during that time, a huge demand to study Engineering with very few private engineering colleges to meet the need. Following this, a large number of private universities were set up. The new highlight is that in 2017, a new university – Sister Nivedita University – has been set up at Rajarhat which is a part of the Techno India group with the aim to extend opportunities for higher education in Engineering to more individuals.

Digbijoy Chakraborty, Director of Frost and Sullivan (South Asia, Middle East & North Africa), Member of the Managing Committee of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry & the Eastern Council Member of ASSOCHAM, said that Frost and Sullivan organized the first investor’s meet in West Bengal in 2012 where Christopher Borroni-Bird, inventor of the Electric-network Vehicle (EnV) and Director of Advanced Technology Vehicle Concepts at General Motors was invited. A Knowledge Partner of Make in India, Mr Chakraborty also led the C2AGP global vertical model of Emerging Companies and Start-ups in South Asia, based on a Silicon Valley initiative which works right from ideation to implementation. Frost and Sullivan has proposed a Biotechnology Park in Bengal, which was the brainchild of a delegation on Biotechnology of the CII to California. 

Protyush Ghosh, Deputy General Manager, Kolkata Metro Railway mentioned that the major changes brought about after he joined as DGM in 2010 was the significant increase in the number of air-conditioned coaches running in the area. The fact that the present system only allows north-south coverage will change to include an east-west span connecting to the busiest stations of Sealdah and Howrah, thereby reorganizing the daily transport map of Kolkata Metro. Apart from this, he also mentioned that Kolkata Metro has been helping in promoting art and culture in Bengal, an incidence being the recently organized art competition at Mahatma Gandhi railway station on 2nd October, the day of celebrating Gandhi Jayanti.

Md Ehteshamul Haque Siddiqui, State Secretary, All India Trinamool Congress Minority Cell explained that the Chief Minister has taken several initiatives to support the minority sectors comprising of Muslims, Sikhs, Punjabis and Christians by supporting them socially, financially and in the fields of education and employment. In the past 7 years, since Trinamool Congress came to power in Bengal, the minority sectors have been provided special provision for lower ROI educational loans, free treatment at government hospitals and low-cost organ transplant for critical stage patients.

Suresh Kr. Agarwal, President of the Global Academy of Science, Culture & Spirituality feels that the present system of education must be reoriented to meet the need of the moment and the larger society by focusing more on vocational development. 

Arunima Dey, Film Director and Founder of Digimax Creations, expressed her plans to release the Bengali feature film “Tumio Tumi” in 2019 based on the concept of women empowerment and the narrow societal taboo imposed on women’s roles in the global present times. Several of Tollywood’s renowned actors will feature in the film, namely Soumitra Chatterjee, Rituparna Sengupta and prominent others.

Dr. Arunjyoti Mahathero, Director of Tollygunge Sambodhi Buddhist Monastery expressed his belief in the present initiative of the ICCR in collaboration with the Bengal Art Factory has made a significant contribution to wholesome development by uniting cultures and art forms under one single roof. 

Md. Istiaque Alam, WBCS coach and an organizer of the event mentioned that the education system of Bengal has deteriorated in the past few years since the TMC government came to power after the Communist government, one of the worst decisions taken being mute reaction about the nullifying of the pass-fail scheme in government schools till the 8th standard. Alam believes that the Modi government is not letting, by its narrow finance policy, the WBCS students to get better opportunities, all these being an urgent reason for the Trinamool Congress government to ally with the Mahagathbandhan.

In 2017 a famous Battery Dance Group from New York visited Kolkata, and several groups from Kolkata have been sent abroad by the ICCR, like the Sapphire Creations, a contemporary dance group sent to Indonesia, Naye Natua, a theatre group sent to Slovenia, to mention just a few. Kalindi Bratyajon, a Bengali theatre group and the brainchild of Bratya Basu, TMC Minister of Information Technology & Electronics holds performances and events every year in collaboration with ICCR, Kolkata, in furtherance to disseminating Bengal’s cultural heritage.

The past 3 years, in particular, have seen a vibrant increase in the ICCR’s cultural activities, where last year, in 2017 the occupancy of the forum was 95%, one of the highest in its history.

(DIDHITI GHOSH is a journalist, psychologist, script-writer, professor and a certified translator & interpreter of the Spanish language. She is the Senior Correspondent of Indian Observer Post based in Kolkata. Contact: didhiti.24@gmail.com.)


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