Category Archives: Arts

When the legendary Urdu poet Bashir Badr patted my back

By Tirtho Banerjee

Dusk was slowly tiptoeing and the zephyr gently swaying the gulmohar tree. Adeebah didi (as an older sister is referred to in Hindi), our landlord’s granddaughter, who I looked up to as my mentor then, was explaining to me an English poem from my intermediate (Grade12) book. It was either Sarojini Naidu’s The Palanquin Bearers or P.B. Shelley’s Stanzas Written In Dejection Near Naples. The year was 1987 or early 1988 in Lucknow.

Continue reading When the legendary Urdu poet Bashir Badr patted my back

Nobody’s war: The pictures that tell the story of ghastly violence

By Janice Rodrigues

Looking at Alessio Mamo’s bold work, it is hard to believe this award-winning photographer only got started in the profession some seven-eight years ago. Hailing from Italy, Alessio worked as a chemist but confessed he was getting tired of the job. So, when the company he worked with had a crisis and failed to renew his contract, he saw it as an opportunity to “be free to choose his path”. He started travelling, taking pictures and, over time, getting them published. “It made me realise that it was possible to become a photojournalist — so, I put my 100 per cent into that field,” he says.

Continue reading Nobody’s war: The pictures that tell the story of ghastly violence

Dastangoi keeps the art of oral storytelling alive

By Anamika Chatterjee

Who was it who said that a good story is one that holds a mirror to our collective conscience? That may provide an inroad into the world of dastangoi. An ancient storytelling form in Urdu, it has lately acquired a niche for its incisive takes on society and politics. Be it sedition or Partition, performers have taken on inconvenient truths of our time and made them more accessible to a wider audience.

Continue reading Dastangoi keeps the art of oral storytelling alive

She was the most beautiful woman I’ve seen on canvas

By Keith Pereña

“There’s something poetic about a painter who dies before finishing his piece,” I told my colleagues while talking about a recent discovery made by the National Museum in the Philippines. An unknown sitter for the celebrated Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo’s last portrait was finally identified. And it took them 44 years to discover this.

Continue reading She was the most beautiful woman I’ve seen on canvas

Banksy did it for charity. How’s that for creative destruction?

By Suresh Pattali

I was kind of tense. I had been sitting in this coffee shop by the Thames for quite a while. The cool breeze wafting across me and the enchanting view of a flock of seagulls cawing over tourist boats failed to calm me down. He still hadn’t turned up. It’s well past the time we had agreed upon. At the nearby tables, customers relaxed reading up tabloids and enjoying free WiFi. The heady aroma of coffee, which I had been breathing in for more than an hour, was becoming unbearable. The Thames joint as a meeting point, instead of any arty-farty gallery cafe, was chosen by him as he wanted to be away from the prying eyes of the media. My laptop and I were like Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot. Will he turn up? Will he be able to recognise me? How will he greet me    with a hug, a pat, or a long handshake? I tried to figure out different scenarios that could unfold when two long-lost classmates meet after a couple of decades.

Continue reading Banksy did it for charity. How’s that for creative destruction?