When the history of art parts company with the history of images, the power is with the images – and art becomes just a small thing.
The Power of Images (1989)
For the gang of five, in this exhibition, art is a big thing - for them: art packs a punch. The works selected for this show, reflect upon the instinctive understanding that art is about the power of images - and that it is critical, we hold on to it, in this age, dominated (in India) by faux conceptual art. For some this might seem quaintly utopian or, even old fashioned; for the panch sena their idealism allows them to react to the realities of the big city. Navi Mumbai represents best for them, the current materialist hysteria, however none of them are originally from Mumbai. Thus, they have the privilege of the outsider, the freedom to see what city dwellers have become inured to.
Punch Sena is the first of a series of exhibitions CIMA Gallery has developed, to bring to Kolkata the art of other regions in India. Contemporary art does have zeitgeist moments and burst of creativity. And we all know how, creativity is at its best at times of social unrest and economic recessions. What distinguishes this period, artistically, is: artists coupling aesthetics with a social conscience.
Like the farmer suicides that agitate Sanjeev Sonpimpare, the lives of the migrant worker, who Roul Hemanta empathizes with; or Tushar Potdar’s beleaguered loner who depicts how he or perhaps how we all feel within a pressured city. Santosh More reconstructs frighteningly bereft cities - imagery we imagine flashing on digital screens in a lost spaceship. Pandit Khairnar’s cityscapes have a pulsating, hazy quality (like the city), as if they were suspended or floating on canvas. In the story of the besieged city, Khairnar’s contemplative and meditative paintings probably suggests the cure for what ails the urbanite.
The diversity amongst the five artists just scratches the surface of a vastly diverse, nationscape of creative talent.