Ananda Moy Banerji, the artist who prefers to describe himself a human landscapist, is back with a solo exhibition of his paintings and prints that will run from 5 to 16 May at galleries one to four, Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhawan. The show is titled Human landscape: Multiple Encounters.

Banerji has been experimenting with what he calls human landscapes. “It is like revisiting your roots; landscapes that were inspired by my tutor. Only that my landscapes are devoted to human beings as an integral part,” he says.

The artist’s landscapes are more devoted to the human form as an integral element.  The human is in harmony with his peers and surroundings.  Over time, Banerji’s canvasses have come alive with bold strokes of figures dominating the landscape, with hopeful eyes, sometimes in contemplation, sometimes lying in coital embrace, and at times in a state of disharmony.  The figures are bound by a ribbon or maybe it is gift wrapped that the viewer need untie to let loose the supine figures. His canvasses speak of eternal hope, of a lurking feeling that a harmonious coexistence between nature and between, is just around the bend. 

Since 2015, Banerji’s palette of colours has evolved with time and is now unlike his previous series of works. They are richly textured with evocative figures and have immense possibilities.  He has perhaps discovered the beautiful in search of which he had once fled home five decades back.

Over the years, Banerji’s works have undergone several changes regarding techniques and thematic planes. He has consciously sought to define himself as an artist with a constructive role to play in the society. He and his works underscore the social milieu.

Banerji’s work in the 70s and the early 80s were mostly landscapes. His stay in Santiniketan brought a radical change in his perception. Immersed in the elements of nature, he gained cognisance that helped him see objects that he previously considered dead and inanimate, as throbbing with life and having an individuality of their own.

Back in Delhi, in 1985, portraying life assumed the centre stage in Banerji’s works. The change from Santiniketan’s isolated rural setting to the urban chaos of Delhi had a direct impact on his work. Headlines on daily atrocities, mayhem and killings lead him pour out his feelings through a number of prints in a series.

 The earlier works of the artist from the series “Today” and “Temptaions” were an analytical approach towards a human being’s craving for power. This journey travelled for a few years, along with a broader perspective and outlook, which slowly became more universal.

Banerji’s recent works are concentrated on exploring themes that are a reflection of his personal life. The recurring images in his recent works are Performers, Reflections,’ and His/Her World, no matter whether they are construed to be political, religious, social or romantic. It is an attempt to explore universal feelings and relations between man and man.

Banerji has had solo shows at Alliance Francaise, Lalit Kala Academi, Queen’s Gallery, and at several other venues. He has been a part of innumerable group shows in all major cities across India and beyond. His work was included in exhibitions in Dhaka, Alberta, Seoul, Fredrikstad, London, New York, Singapore, and elsewhere.

Banerji’s works have earned him widespread recognition, beginning with the prestigious Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1972-73, and the latest being the BC Sanyal Dedicated Teacher Award from Delhi College of Art in 2008. Banerji lives and works out of New Delhi.

Human landscape: multiple encounters by Anand Moy Banerji is on view at Lalit Kala Akedmi till 16 May


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