Ganesh Haloi: Form & Play

Soumik Nandy Majumdar
Mapin Publishing
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Ganesh Haloi was born in Jamalpur, in present-day Bangladesh in 1936, and moved to Kolkata after the Partition in 1950. Marked deeply by the trauma of Partition as well as Kolkata's polyphonic culture that was struggling for its own identity, Haloi's art stands at the helm of a revival of Indian modernism. The set of paintings explored in this volume, also exhibited at a show titled "Form and Play" at Akar Prakar, Kolkata, in early 2019, has a specific association with nature in water bodies. Haloi's observation of the submerged and floating aquatic plants, their gentle movements and lifecycle has been an enchanting experience, which resurrects continually through glowing layers of colours and floating shapes and lines. He also induces an incessant drama that seems to be an organic part of nature and independent of any human intervention. But when this hydrosphere dries up or disappears, Haloi reacts profoundly with an inevitable pain. As Soumik Nandy Majumdar demonstrates, the underlying pathos in relation to this sense of loss can be alluded to Haloi's own experience of departing and migrating in the wake of Partition, leaving behind the loved and lived land. This volume attempts to illuminate these recent works and their expression of a pain that is personal as much as it is historical. Exhibition: Akar Prakar Gallery, Kolkata, India (12.-19.03.2020)