Vol. 5 Num 694 Sat. May 13, 2006  

Alakesh Ghosh
A painter with a penchant for landscapes

Tracing his artistic career, Alakesh Ghosh says, "I embarked on this path at the then Art College of Arts and Crafts in 1967. From then on I've been concentrating on painting, drawing and sketching. Till 2005, my efforts have been mostly watercolour. I work at every possible time, available to me -- my routine has fluctuated with the passage of time. If I have to portray something old as in the 100 years of Dhaka exhibit at Shilpangan, this naturally requires some time and contemplation."

Alokesh had been working in mixed-media, having graduated from simple watercolour, using magic markers. He has been influenced by Mohammed Kibria and Mohammed Fida Hussain, in his projection of landscapes and portraits. So far he has presented landscapes of different scenes in Bangladesh, such as Khagrachari, Bandarban and Sundarban.

Furthermore, Alakesh had inspiration and guidance from Zainul Abedin and Janabul Islam, who encouraged him to do watercolours, Earlier, he had Safiuddin Ahmed to spark off his imagination and drive. In portraits, he had Quamrul Hassan, to egg him on. "Mainly, I try to bring in the poetry and beauty of nature," he says.

At 54, he repeatedly portrays the images most dear to his heart -- Bangladeshi landscapes. Today, he presents an in-depth picture of Bangladesh, past and present. He is, in particular, desperately seeking to preserve the beauty of Dhaka's cultural heritage, particularly, as regards historic historical monuments, Panamnagar, Sonargaon (last exhibited at Saju Art Gallery, Shilpangan and Shilparag). He has done about 1,000 watercolours on the subject of Dhaka alone.

Asked to comment about the amalgamation of western influence, taught at the Department of Fine Arts, DU, from the outset, with that of the East, he says, "There's been the influence of Rabindranath Tagore during the last century. Zainul Abedin, SM Sultan, Quamrul Hassan, Safiuddin Ahmed and Mohammed Kibria had always been forward looking, and inclined towards an international outlook. They all carry an impressionistic approach, from time to time. I too follow Manet and Gauguin, with different colours and varied techniques."

He mixes and blends, to the best of his knowledge. His works vary from water-colour to mixed media, in which he includes acrylic. He includes white acrylic when he left the paper white in his water-colours.

Touching on the manner in which he works, prodded to give more details about the progress of his paintings, Alakesh says, "When I wish to journey into painting or mixed-media in a very serious way, I envisage my theme in my mind and compose as I go along. I don't believe in making primary sketches or colour lay-outs. I approach the paper or canvas directly. Having begun, the composition steadily takes its own shape. As I play with my colours, brushes and surfaces, the picture is completed.

"Sometimes, at mid-point, when I look at my work critically, I add more colours to the surface. I might put aside my work and make a further improvement in the work, in about a couple of months."

A Painting by Alakesh ghosh, the artist (Inset)