I see myself as a sort of painter- journalist, using paint and canvas as a photo-journalist might use his camera”. – These words from Bikash Bhattacharjee resonate in his surreal representation of the city of Calcutta. The painting documents a blurred distinction between the real and the nightmarish, a gruesome chronicle of the repressive years of the National Emergency (1975-77).
The monochromatic palette with chiaroscuro effects and an eerie atmosphere makes for an unsettling realism. Violence in the terror struck city and its aftermath is invoked by the human heads, busts and inanimate human anatomy strewn across the road, surrounded by smoke-laden disintegrating buildings. A solitary cat and shadows of lampposts cast on the desolate street evoke a deathly stillness and induce a threat filled environment.