Style : The Marxist orientation did not allow Bijan Chowdhury “to neglect reality and run after abstract art in a country gripped by poverty, prejudices, illiteracy…” He said as much in Dhaka to artists who followed the abstract style in search of a universal style. Because he believed in a balance of emotion and visuals, his paintings drew on narrative elements but his strong mastery of line never degenerated into illustration. His imagery was not explicit, nor was his symbolism Surreal. His stylistic features were inspired by Kalighat pat, built upon Socialist Realism, and blended in Marxist flavour. What emerged was human content dressed in lines and colours that found universal acceptance – as the series on Raga-Ragini or those inspired by folklore.
About the Artist & his work :
Bijan Choudhury was born in (1931 – 2012) in Faridpur, Bangladesh.
Education : He moved to Calcutta where he studied at the Government College of Art and Craft, but because of his Marxist beliefs he was expelled before he could graduate. He returned to Bengal and graduated from the Dhaka Art College (now the University of Dhaka).
Art Career : Choudhury was one of the artists that formed the Society of Contemporary Artists in 1960. In 1964 together with Nikhil Biswas, Prakash Karmakar, Rabin Mondal, Jogen Chowdhury and Dhiraj Chowdhury he founded the Calcutta Painters to break from the traditions of the Bengal School of Art. In the late ’70s he became head of the Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship.
1974 – Birla Academy of Art and Culture & Retrospective, Alliance Francaise, Kolkata;
1982 – Miniature Exhibition, Paris ; participation with Indian Artists in Stockholm & Festival of India.
1984 – Participated exhibition in Munich
1986 – Retrospective, Art Heritage, New Delhi & Bengal Art in London
1989 – Paintings on Indian Music, Gallery 88, Kolkata;
1992 – Art Heritage, New Delhi.
Awards & Honour :
1963 – Academy of Fine Arts Award, Calcutta.
1978 – Rabindra Bharati Award, Calcutta.
1978 – Documentary coloured film entitled ‘Bijan’, made by Film Australia, Film Division of Govt. of Australia.
1995 – ‘Abanindra Puroshkar’, Govt. of West Bengal, Calcutta. He received William Carey Award.
2012 – After his death, an exhibition of his paintings was arranged by the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts at the Bengal Gallery.