It wouldn't be wrong to say that artist Samir Mondal has entered into the golden phase of his life. Mondal, who recently turned 60, is celebrating the occasion with a new exhibition 6 x 10 Samir Mondal Turns Sixty that's now showcasing at Jamaat Art Gallery, Colaba. CS speaks to the veteran artist about his new show and love for the medium:
Time to retrospect
Well, if you think about it, 60 is an important number. In earlier days, an average human being lived till this age. It is also the normal retirement age. These are some of the thoughts I have tried to showcase in the ongoing exhibition. Throughout my life, I have worked with watercolours as a medium, this show has some of my retrospections and introspections.
The flower is the principal subject of my show. The paintings are small in size but full of layering and bright colours. You will see paintings of flowers in their natural habitat, flower arrangements and flowers representing some issue or another. I have kept the mood bright, colourful and happy.
Over the years
I express myself best with watercolours. I grew up in rural Bengal, which is filled with water bodies. So, there's always been a connection with water. As a kid, I never had exposure to fancy paints or brushes. We used colour from natural things like ash, red mud, flower petals, etc to make drawings. Most of these things are soluble in water. Later, when I moved to Kolkata I found watercolours to be most convenient. It was easy to always carry some paper, brushes and tubes with you. With watercolours, I could just sit down on the banks of a river and paint the cloudy sky or boatman rowing by.
The British school of painting was prevalent in Kolkata during my growing years. And landscapes used to be the favourite subject. Working with watercolours wasn't a part of my syllabus at all. But if you look at it, watercolours are a part of India's rich artistic legacy. Watercolours are there in cave paintings, Mughal miniatures, Ajanta's frescoes and in the paintings at Kalighat.