Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrated Odishan Master Painter Baladev Maharatha

His forefathers were operating with the weapons the Paik (warrior sect of Odisha) militia has been using in order to combat atrocities and to prevent intruders. The swords and daggers are still preserved in his household as the objects of worship which reminds the past warrior jugglery. But he left the weapons for worship and replaced them with paint, brush and palate. He also imbibed the nuances of the earthy smell of his village soil, the soil once smeared with the blood of the enemy. What he exactly imbibed? He osmoticised the forms on to his mind and his creative pursuit could metamorphose in to various realistic creations with the fluidity and mastermind. The outcome is nothing but his heightening of expressive capability. Periods of crisis especially seam to produce an artist like him and he could channel the anxieties of his time in to his work. Once the personality of an artist is admitted as a factor determining the character of his work of art is well defined. His creativity could function more and more openly as a means of self revelation though he opts for a formalist aesthetics, he could reverse the modernist evolution towards increasingly pure form. His realistic look towards his art is always having a postmodernist sub current within beyond. He is none other than art educator, painter, poet and visualizer. As Baladev’s paintings are having lucid lines and soothing paints some of his literary friends opined that his drawing and pointing are purely poetics so his creations are nothing but lucid poetry. One of his literary friends named him as Chitradev a befitting alias.
His mind never stepped in to endemic sphere, rather he is always exploiting the vastness and magnificence of Indian art, architecture and culture at large. He always creates the established notions and concepts that the piece of art achieves a universal appeal. His distinction is his Odishan flavor with the contemporary mullein and his strokes are dedicatedly distinct and meaningful.
The evolutionary process of Baladev Maharatha have passed through several phases like portraying the Shakti or Mother Goddess Durga on the suspicious day of Durga Mahastami in Dussehera festival day every year from which his creative pursuits could gather tremendous momentum. His profiles of Sadhus(sages), Mother’s with the supreme creations, transforming the verses of medieval poetry like Kalidas’s Ritu Samhara, the male chauvinistic attitude towards the devadasi cult and 108 forms of Lord Ganapati are some of his important series.
His training in art started with Khallikote Art college in Odisha and Then he made his masters in History from Utkal University. He had his special training in fresco painting from late Prof. Sukhamay Mitra, Viswabharati. But his first teacher in art is his mother who could allure him to lines and colors when he was only 5 years old. Her mother was her first admirer of his creation. When he topped the list of the entrance examination to be a student of art in khallikote Art College his family could fell his potency. As he was born and brought up in a rural set-up so his inclination towards the mundane things of life are acute and authentic. He observes conceives and depicts which are the three phases for any creativity, be it performing, visual or plastic art. His mindset could acutely imbibed the rural conceptual motifs and his depictions are always smelling earthy.
His Sadhu(sages) series is the outcome of his intimately intermingling with Indian and Odishan sages. It is not the iconography depicted it is the inner psyche culminated in to well crafted canvases.
His mother series transforms the motherly rearing in to a stupendous convention and his woman takes the form of Janani ( the mother), Bhagini (the sister) and Jaya (the wife).
Baladev is having deep acquaintances with Vedic literature, philosophy and medieval poetry. He took the finer elements from all these texts and transforms the calligraphy in to visual art. His renderings are so exact and soothing that the poetic lines are enlivened with paint and brush. The onlooker assimilates the jugglery of the poetry through the vibrantly colored canvases . He has transformed the poetic lines of Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, the colossal medieval Oriya poet and his Kavya "Koti Brahmanda Sundari" could give vent to exclusively painted canvasses. With a deep sense of Kali Das’s poetry he could thought of the projection. So with magnanimously painted canvasses on Ritu Samhar and Meghadoota Kavya he had his solo exhibition in Orissa Modern Art Gallery where he had his mind and soul put together to provide vigor and strength to his superb creations from where one can feel the poetic fragrament. He is so meticulous that he portrayed the black mole on the check of the Nayika to the long drooping drapery so eloquently that the intricate poetry gets transformed to visual art from. Here the poetic nuances are bewitchingly depicted without any inhibitions. This transformation of these lyrical interpretations on to canvass was first of its kind for the viewers. Hence the literary personalities, intellectuals and critics had rave reviews for these creations as the interpretation is as powerful as the original Sanskrit verses created by great poet Kali Das
Baladev then looked in to portraying Ganapati on to the canvasses. He has manifested Ganesh with many a from in to his canvass on board. Here he has experimented with variety of textures, figures and forms taking the mythical antecedents in to account. Ganesh icons has not been transformed in to total abstraction rather the forms are akin to realistic but never realistic. The sources of inspiration for the painter are meticulously taken from the mythical renderings. So also the space at times encloses the artistic creativity quite effectively with the texture of the subject.
In the year 2007, Delhi based Ashok Art Gallery has showcased his works at the National Capital, in India Habitat Centre New Delhi entitled Dejected Dusk. The theme was Deva Dasi tradition taken as a symbol of femininity temple dancing tradition and a male chauvinistic attitude towards the Devadasis. In a review of the said exhibition, Thea Walstra from the Netherlands commented like this. Over all I am very much impressed by the art of this very talented artist. Hi is able to introduce the world with the symbols of the ancient, incredible India in a very interesting way. At the same time his work shows the globalization of the world and that times are changing, the world I understand and know. I think he has built a bridge in his art connecting, the present India with the modern world. At the same time he is introducing the rich tradition of the ancient India with all the symbols and visual glory.
In the human psyche the male chauvinistic attitude is a perennial concept. In the epical descriptions, the female has always been portrayed as a commodity of enjoyment and the beastly lust always engulfs the feminine sector. Never she has been regarded as the part and parcel of the supreme creation literally but regarded proverbially. But she is always forgotten as the sculptor of life embodiment. In the historical depictions, though there are feministic heroism still the exploitation is optimum. With this current bazaar culture femininity has been commoditized. So Baladev kept the above in mind and he could present the exhibition as a soothing heal for feminism and the real attitude is depicted with paint and canvasses. The exhibition got rave reviews.
Baladev is the only painter who had collaborated with the other avenues of art with his painting and the simultaneous process is known as Yugal Vandi. He had his brush swiftly draw the strokes on canvas while Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia had his music recital with flute. Baladev also painted to the recitation of the popular odia poem Kadanba-Katual by Prof. Dr.Ajay Swain. Then he also painted to the recitations of the poems of Vidyapati a Medieval poet of Mithila in Bihar. It made the spectators spell bound by seeing the use of the brush with quite speedy acceleration. As spiritualism is his soul, he also had another Jugalbandi with Odishi dance recital by eminent dancers and vocal music of "Gita Govinda". on the stage, the visual art form slowly but caringly transformed the performing Art on to a huge canvas in a very limited span of time in the esteemed presence of Gajapati Divyasingh Dev and Sri T.K.Mishra, The chief Secretary, Govt. of Orissa and the huge gathering could applaud this joint venture of creativity.
Baladev Maharatha teaches in B.K. College of Art and Crafts in the capacity of a Professor. He is the head of department Painting in Indian Style. Many a students of his are now established artists. He takes his pupils as friends or brothers and under his tutelage the pupils get a chance to learn the intricacies from their Master Teacher. Many a students of his are not beyond his super influence.
Baladev, not only a lover of poetry, but he is a poet himself. His flowing lines of poetry could allure his readers like his paintings.Baladev is a person with a love for nature and he has planted number of trees and also participated in many a plantation programmes
He believes in. hard work as there is no substitute for hard work, "One needs to have dedication, inspiration and love for the work, make it a way of life and most importantly – seek divine blessings to be an artist. I am inspired by God and my studio is my home" he says.He has received Odisha Lalit Kala Academy award and also many golden feathers have been added to his silvery Cap.
The philosophers say that to paint is nothing but a yogic practice. The superb elevation of Baladev is due to his embracing the spiritual milieu intimately. His creations are therefore having the concealed spiritual norms and for which his paintings are noting beyond soul searching. A spiritual mind can only achieve this type of supreme creativity, he believes.
Baladev is a super human being who cares for all the living things and nonliving in this universe and passionately he loves the human being most. So his creation is always collectively humanitarian. His works are available at Ashok Art Gallery and next solo show will be organized at Delhi on December 2010.

Suresh Balabantray

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world's most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists, became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India Mumbai and India Art Summit Delhi