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Amitabh SenGupta
1941 Born in Kolkata (present Kolkata). Family migrated from Kalia in previously Jessore District in Bangladesh.
 
 
1942 -1958 early years spent in different places with parents. Father was a government officer posted in Diamond Harbour, Basirhat, Kharagpur, etc.; at one stage, family stayed in Shibpur, Howrah. First schooling started in B. K. Pal Institution, Shibpur; received prizes in school sports.  Then moved to north Bengal and studied in Raiganj Coronation High School for three years; received prizes during annual school programs, particularly in sports and painting. Raiganj has other memories, like fishing in the Kulik River, seeing Jatra or an open-air theater, and Gambhira, one-man folk theatre. Father then transferred to Tufanganj, a small sub-division town in Cooch Behar District; admitted in the eighth class in local High School; became drawn to few senior friends who loved painting and discussing modern poetry. Literature became another interest. Became inspired when saw an exhibition of wash-paintings in Tufangunge by a graduate artist from Santiniketan. Painting at home got momentum with watercolours, inks and conté. Memories in Tufanganj also included witnessing the devastating flood in the Raidak River and seeing the plight in village. After two years, father transferred to the District-town, Cooch Behar and found admission in Jenkins School to complete the School leaving exam. Enjoyed games in the neighbourhood; sooner the next-door public library, Sahitya-Sabha became a major attention; it became a passion reading assorted literature and articles on art from new and old Bengali journals, like, Probasi, Modern Review, and ongoing Desh; this sidelined painting and school studies. However, when acquainted with two Art College students from Kolkata Art College, got impetus from their methods of work; came to know about the formal courses in Art College and the environment. During this period in school, received a prize for artwork in a local contest, which was judged by 'Bhugu Saheb', who was an artist overseeing the Art Collections in Cooch Behar Maharaja’s palace. A major experience was to see the Palace collection: the original works of European academic paintings, Bengal School artists, Maharaja’s family portraitures by renowned artists and the Chinese Porcelains. It decidedly opened a new world. Cooch Behar has many memories, for instance, flood in Torsha River, the Mela or annual Fair that had Circus show. Became aware of the folk trend of Bhawaiya songs of north Bengal. The pioneer singer of the trend, Abbas Uddin was born in Tufanganj. In 1956, completed high school with ordinary result, and surprised everybody by joining Victoria College, Cooch Behar, for science, I.Sc., which was another two years; completed with better performance than in school. 
 
 
1959 -1963     Studied Painting for five years in Government College of Arts & Crafts in Kolkata. During the period received merit scholarships, awards for vacation-works and in Art College Annual Shows, regularly for five years. Received award in all India Annual Show in Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, for the ‘best group of works in watercolors’, in 1961. After graduating with high result, took a short course in Art Appreciation and History, at Asutosh Museum, University of Kolkata and completed with Distinction. 
 
 
1964 - 1965     Went to Delhi and joined All India Handicrafts Board, work involved studying folk masks and other traditional forms, developing designs for Dari/carpets, etc. In 1965, held first solo show of paintings in All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi. Sooner, went to Ahmadabad to join Calico Mills as a textile designer.  Ahmadabad has memory of watching folk art of Gujarat, Haveli-doors and the Textile Museum within Calico Mills. After about eight months, left job; returned to New Delhi and joined an Advertising Agency; held second solo show in AIFACS, Delhi, in 1966.
 
 
1966 – 1969     Received French Government Scholarships in 1966 to study Printmaking and Painting in Ecole des Beaux-Arts; worked in two ateliers, Mosaic, under Mr. Licata and Printmaking under Prof. Coutaud. Held first solo show in Paris, at Gallerie des Beaux-Arts, in 1967; participated in Salon d’Automne in Paris, 1967; Exposition des Artistes Etrangers, Paris, 1967. Cinema became a new interest while watching at Cinematheque Françoise in Paris. In 1968, held two shows at International Cultural Centre, Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris, February & November. However, disruption in work happened due to the student revolt in 1968; later took studio in Cité, to work independently. During the period, travelled widely in Europe; sometimes hitchhiking to Germany, Austria, Spain and Netherlands; visited UK at the end of 1969. Museums of Europe drew specific attention.
 
 
1970 – 1976     Had to confront the social situation of seventies after returning to Kolkata, due to the Naxal and other political turmoil; went to Madras and joined as Art Director in a textile house, 1970; held a solo show in Alliance Française in Madras in 1971; left Madras and went to Delhi. Joined as Art Director in an Advertising Agency and continued until 1976. Had solo show, with photograph & structures, watercolors, etc., in Triveni Kala Sangam Gallery in 1975. Exhibited in Gallery Black Partridge, between 1973 and 1976; participated in Badkhal Lake Art Camp, organized by Gallery Black Partridge and Haryana Tourism in 1976. Received study-cum-Assistantship at Pratt Institute, New York; left job, but did not receive US Visa in 1976. Plan cancelled but left for Paris..
 
 
1976 – 1977     Left job in New Delhi and went to Paris, and did freelancing at an ad-studio of Sambhit Sengupta. After eight months received offer in Nigeria and  joined as Head of Graphics at Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, under the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, 1977. During this period developed series of drawings, photographic experiments and ‘Interior Series’ in oils.
 
 
1977 – 1983     Became acquainted with Nigerian system and life. After two years, selected for Staff-development Programme funded by UNESCO for Nigerian University and completed Ed.M under the New York State University at Buffalo, in General Education and Policy Analysis, 1979-81.  The course gave theoretical methodology, and habit of research writing that helped preparing seminar papers. Held solo show in Owerri with paintings and photographs, in 1979; another show in Kolkata at Birla Academy of Art & Culture with drawings, prints and photo-graphics in 1980; at AICE, executed two murals with students in Owerri campus; travelled within Nigeria and had several trips to Europe, USA and Kenya through the period of eleven years working in two universities in Nigeria; playing tennis and Badminton, became another passion; left AICE in Owerri in 1983 and joined Port Harcourt. 
1983 – 1988     Joined the Federal University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria, as the Head of Visual Arts. It was a stimulating experience to initiate the Art Department, which had no infrastructure or course. Eventually, the Department was set with staff, students and various Courses of Visual Arts, through the next five years; executed several large murals on the main campus with students; became involved with various Committee works. During the period, wrote and presented papers on Art Education in Nigerian perspective, at various platforms. Enlisted as Art Advisor in UNESCO, 1986 and 1987. Became involved in literary activity in the campus with Kiabara poetry journal; published papers in the university journal and attended seminars in Lagos. Tennis and Badminton continued as regular sports and extended in the duty as Coach for the UNIPORT students; students won some of the inter-University competitions, including one at Shell Club in Port Harcourt city. The period, from 1977 until 1988 in Nigeria, was a high and low of Nigeria’s oil economy with various social consequences. In 1988, resigned from the UNIPORT Contract and returned to Kolkata. Eventually, the experience and ideas generated in Nigeria went into writing the second book: Memoir of an Artist in 2014.
 
 
1989 – 2014   After return, live and work in Kolkata. With Kolkata as base, travelled extensively in India, far-East;  continued with Interior series, which in the course of time, shifted to other Series, Walls, Mythscapes and then to the ongoing theme, Inscriptions.
Meanwhile, involved with research on folk paintings in Bengal and writing on art; published the first book. ‘Scroll Paintings of Bengal’; travelled to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; had an extensive tour in USA in 2010, holding show and visiting museums; in 2014 travelled to Europe. ‘Memoir of an Artist,' is a recently completed book. Presently, painting, writing, travelling and giving talk on art, are the main preoccupation. Besides, organizing Art Trust activities is part of it.
 
 
Selected list of Solo Shows of paintings, 1988 onwards:
1988 – Interiors, The Gallery, Chennai.
1989 - Walls, Galerie ‘88, Kolkata.
1990 – Interiors, Gallery Katayun, Kolkata.
1991 – Interiors, Art Heritage, New Delhi.
1992 - Split Wall, Center Art Gallery, Kolkata.
1993 - Surface of Time, Sarala’s Art Centre, Chennai and Art Heritage, New Delhi.
1995 - Surface of Time, Crimson Gallery, Bangalore.
1996 – Walls, Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.
1997 - Paintings and Digital Graphics, Artworld Gallery, Chennai.
1999 - Paintings and Digital Graphics, Birla Academy, Kolkata.
2000 – Paintings and digital graphics, at Artworld Gallery, Chennai.
2003 – Mythscape Series, at Habitat Centre, New Delhi, March; and Artworld, Chennai, April.
2004 – Mythscape Series, at Sumukha Gallery, Bangalore.
2005 – Inscriptions Series, at Artworld, Chennai.
2006 – Paintings and Digital Graphics, at Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata and Artmosaic, Singapore.
2007 - Solo Show of Paper works, American Centre in Singapore, September.
2007 – Inscription Series, at Time & Space Gallery, Bangalore, November.
2008 – Inscription Series, at Artworld Gallery, Chennai, September.
2010 – Shows in New York: Solo, Inscriptions and Video Art, BA-Gallery, Queens, New York, March 13-21; Group Show at Agora Gallery, New York, July 23 - August 13. 
2010 - Inscriptions Series, Artworld Gallery, Chennai, September.
2011 – Digital Graphics, Society of Contemporary Artists’ Center, Kolkata.
 
 
Major Group shows/Art Camps, 1988 onwards:
1990 – Bharat Bhavan Biennale, Bhopal.
‘Bengal Arts,' shown by Gallerie’88 at Mumbai.
1992 – ‘Indo-French Confluence’ art-camp & show in Kolkata and New Delhi.
1993 - “Two Bengals”, Art Camp and Show at Bangladesh Mission, Kolkata.
1994 – “Indian Contemporary Art”, Pao Gallery, Hong Kong Art Centre, in collaboration with Maya Gallery and Artworld, Chennai.
1995 - “25 Indian Painters” at Art Museum Ginza, Tokyo, Gallery Nagai in collaboration with Artworld;
1995 - “Bombay- show” organised by H.V.Goenka, Jehangir gallery, Mumbai. 
1995 - Art Camp and show at CCMB organized by Surya Prakash, I.V Prasad Eye Research Institute and CCMB, Hyderabad.
1996 – Exhibition organized by Aurodhan Gallery, Pondicherry, at Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi.
1997 - “4 Indian Painters” at Gallery Quadrivium, Sydney, in collaboration with Artworld Gallery.
1999 - “Indian Contemporary Art” at the University gallery at Penang and the National Gallery of Modern Art at Kualalumpur, Malaysia, in collaboration with Artworld, Chennai.
2000 - Art camps and shows in Kolkata and New Delhi organised by Taj Hotels and Artworld Gallery.
2001 - “Indian Contemporary Art” Show at Oberoi, New Delhi, by Kalyani Chawla and Aloka Saha. 
2001 - “Creative Passageway”, touring show in USA and Israel, organised by Shari Davis Ferdman.
2002 - Indo-Korean Show, New Delhi, sponsored by Montage Gallery. 
2002 - “The Magical Mystery Tour”, works of five artists at Crimson Gallery, Bangalore. 
2002 - “Bengal Art” Show at Habitat Centre, New Delhi, organised by Ambika Beri.
2002 - “Colours of Bengal”, organized by the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata and Habitat Gallery, New Delhi.
2002 - Art Camp and show at CCMB, Hyderabad.
2003 - Art Camp and Show in Nepal, organised by Sangeeta Thapa.
2005 – Art Camp at Vedic Village organized by Artists’ Circle, Kolkata.
2005 - Art Camp and Show organized by Artmosaic Gallery, Singapore.
2005 - Art Camp at Taj Hotel, Chennai, organized by Artworld.
2006 - Conducted the UBCHEA sponsored artist-in-residence workshop on ‘Digital Art’, the Dept. of Fine Arts at Stella Maris College, Chennai, 7 February.
2006 - Art Camp at CCMB, Hyderabad, 12 March.
2007 - Workshop in Sri Lanka.
2007 - Workshop in Bali.
2007 - Workshop in Maldives and show in Singapore, 2008, organised by Artmosaic.
2008 - Art Trust show ‘Kolkata-Dhaka’, Kolkata.
2008 - Tamarind Art Gallery, New York, June. 
2008 - Workshop & tour in Thailand, organized by Ishvatham Gallery.
2009 - ‘Dhaka-Kolkata show’, Bengal Fine Arts Gallery, Dhaka, in collaboration with Art Trust, Kolkata.
2009 - ‘Kolkata Painters – 49 Year’ show at Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata.
2008 - ‘Bengal Fine Arts Gallery, Dhaka, 2009.
2009 - ‘Indian Contemporary Art’, show at Nehru Center, London, Artists’ Circle.
2010 – ‘Deep within Souls’, group show of Indian contemporary painters, organized by Suruchi Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi, February.
2010 - Art camp at ‘Silent Hills Resort’ sponsored by Ankan Foundation, Mumbai, August 10, 2010.
2011 – Two-Man Show, at Time & Space Gallery in Bangalore, November.
2012 – Taj Camp at Fisherman’s Cove, Chennai.
2012 - Curatorial show by Sunil Das: 22 Artists. 
2012 - Art Trust show at Ganges Art Gallery.
2013 – Invitation to Paris by Artmosaic Gallery followed by a major tour of museums & art galleries in Amsterdam, Munich, Austria, Prague, Hungary and UK.
2013 - Participated at the International Art Camp at Bereckfurdo, Hungary, April.
2014 – International Show, “Neverland”,
Culture Inside Gallery, Luxembourg, May 2014.
 
 
 
Works in major Collections: selected list
President’s House, Lagos, and State House, Owerri, Nigeria; Lalit Kala Academy and Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Taj Group of Hotels, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi; Park Hotel, Kolkata; Kakatya Hotel, Hyderabad; World Tel; Pradip Bothra; Meena Dadha; Soli and Moti Daruwalla, Chennai; Mani Ratnam; Ramchandra Guha; Kirloskar and Bicon India, Bangalore; ITC Kolkata; H.V.Goenka; L V PrasadEye research Institute, Hyderabad; CCMB, Hyderabad;; Sanjay Tulsyan, Chennai; Alkazi Collection, Art Heritage, New Delhi;  Saroj Poddar, Kolkata; Ashok Vijay, Texmaco Ltd., Kolkata; Suresh Krishnan, Zuari Industries Ltd., Goa; Chaise, New York; Mani Ratnam, Chennai; TATA Cummins; ACC India, etc.; and in many private collections in Dhaka, Paris, Japan, France, Germany, Turkey and USA.
 
 
Video Art
2007 - Presented ‘Creative Journey’ with Video Art and Poetry at Bangalore International Centre, 6th November.
2009 - Presented 6 Video Arts at Goethe Institute, Max Mueller Bhavan, in Kolkata.
2013 – Presented 4 Video- Art to Hungarian artists at Bereckfurdo, Hungary, April.
 
 
Publications and Films:                
Publications:     
 
‘Positive-Negative’, Pramiti, Kolkata, No. 44, 4, January 1970; 
‘A Vacuum in Art Education,' Pramiti, No.5, February, 1970; 
‘Rethinking Art: The Case of African Art,' Kiabara, Univ. of Port Harcourt Journal, Nigeria, vol. 6, no. 2, 1985; 
‘Art Education and Cultural Imperatives: A Historical Perspective in Nigeria’, (presented as seminar paper at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Univ. of Lagos, 1984), Kiabara, vol.8, no.1, 1984. ‘Why Group Why Not,' Art Today Journal, vol. I, Issue VI, September, 1989. 
‘The Art Market,' Art Today Journal, January, 1990 issue.
‘Akash, Prithvi, Chhanda’, (from Nigerian Diary), Nandimukh, Bengali language Journal, 1990. ‘Murto-Bimurto’, Yogosutra, Bengali Journal, 1990. 
‘Shishu Shilpa O Goponiyo Satya’, Nandimukh, Bengali, 1998.
‘Banglar Pat, Potua O Patagiti’, (on folk paintings of Bengal), Ebang Prio Shilpo, Bengali language Journal, 1999. 
‘Vasha Theke Vashantar’, Nandimukh, 2001. “Globalisation and Indian Contemporary Art”, Sejuti, annual number, 2002. 
Paris Journal, Art & Deal Magazine, New Delhi.
Book: 'Scroll Paintings of Bengal', Authorhouse, UK., 2012.
Book: ‘Memoir of an Artist’, Partridge Publishing India, UK, 2014. 
Created 6 Video-Art films and other short documentaries. 
 
 
Founder President of 
Art Trust, Kolkata.
 
Studio: Alaka Apartments, Flat B32
59/2B Pratapaditya Road,
Kolkata 700026. INDIA
Tel. 91-033-24669268
M: 91 9433556698
amitabh.art@gmail.com
Website: www.amitabhsengupta.com

 

 

 
Copyright © 2010 Amitabh SenGupta.