Pastime; Bringing modelling, paintings and photography together  

My photographic representations are aimed at dissolving the boundaries between high art and low art and to bring together photography and painting, says artist Aparnita

 Pastime; Bringing modelling, paintings and photography together  
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Qazi M Raghib

What can a bored artist in the North Bengal city of Siliguri do? Sketching and painting indoor during the lockdown is an option but not for the restless and ambitous Aparnita. She has embarked on modelling and recreating 30 well known paintings by Indian and Western masters.

The lockdown, she admits, made the task difficult. Getting the right costume, matching colours and finding the right accessories was not easy. She made do with what she had in the house and decided to get herself photographed in her own room.

The purists have not been happy. Calendar art has never appealed to them and her photographs on her facebook page have occasionally invited sardonic comments whether she is sure what she is doing is art. The obvious monotony and similarity of background has been criticised but undaunted, she has gone ahead with the venture.

The results are not as spectacular as the far more professional work done by photographers (Google for models recreating old paintings) here and abroad. But with obvious limitations imposed by the lockdown, it would be uncharitable to find faults. Better costumes, a contemporary but similar background and better photography will help hone her skills better.

She has recreated, among other paintings, a self-portrait by Amrita Sher Gill. A painting by Raja Ravi Varma also stand out. But the most audacious of her attempts has been to recreate a Kalighat ‘Pat’ painting, a folk art form that proliferated in the 19th century in the vicinity of the Kali temple in Kolkata and another by Nandalal Bose.

“My photographic representations are aimed at dissolving the boundaries between high art and low art and to bring together photography and painting,” she tells me over the phone.

Reacting to criticism of the art works, she said in a post, “ It is really tough to make an art work “quietly” during the lockdown, being confined constantly within the four walls but then art forms do invite criticism from art critics,” added philosophically the art teacher in the DPS school.

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