Review by Sarmistha Maiti
April 20, 2012


“Green Below, Blue Above” – the name of the show was indeed intriguing but did not remain just at the level of an attention driving caption. The works displayed did have many things in store! The sixth solo show of Sumana Ghosh held at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata in March 2012 had a captivating energy in its core enveloped with innocence, empathy and sensitivity that in one go echoed human concern for the cause of a greener environment, better society and harmony in co-existence of men and women. The metaphor of “green below, blue above” justified her artistic sensibility with a broader range of understanding about both the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ world of human existence.

Sumana is self-taught artist but has been practicing art since childhood under the guidance of many senior people in this field. The naïve character of the imagery she creates in a way reflects the purity of her thought process not catered unnecessarily by any academic approach. She delves with whatever she feels is important and best fits in her discourse. There can be criticisms on this part regarding the technicality and treatment which includes potential of an artist like skill and approach to a subject, but Sumana pays no heed to such factors, instead carries on in the most apt way she would like to portray her thoughts, feelings and emotions.

There is a fable quality in her works as if each of them is trying to narrate a story where the outer layers show fantasy or fairy-tale but deep within, one gets the opportunity to explore the moral of the story. ‘Green below, blue above’- the painting in tempera, ‘Flying boy and death on arrow’ – tempera on Nepali paper pasted on canvas, ‘Giraffe’, ‘Kathgolap’, ‘Tearful spring’, ‘when the game is on’ – all in tempera on paper/Nepali paper have been a conscientious attempt by Sumana to create an allegorical space on the picture plane. As a female artist, Sumana clearly states that her ‘being’ as a woman naturally plays a significant role in her works. “The inhibitions, the impediments that a woman has to constantly to confront in the process of life creates a pathetic sensibility, creates a melancholic tune in her consciousness. I am no exception.”-  this does comply to most of her works where she has very sensitively created the undercurrent of her ‘being’ what ‘she’ is and then connected it with the bigger space of holistic existence of every being in the cosmos. The feminine touch on the issue of environmental concern in itself enhances the essence of the whole process. And the painter has been successful is her deliberation with this idea in this particular show. Emotion, environment, existence and ego together have comprised as the subjective portfolio of the creative spree of the artist and she has given a fresh breathing space to her audience through her canvases.

Ideation-wise the concept was brilliant keeping at par with the temporal reality of contemporary life, but of course treatment-wise Sumana needs to brush up a little more…not just taking an escape route giving a naïve quality to her pictorial fables. She has more to do with skill in order to devise the content which has punch at the bottom-line. She should not give it up!

Flying Boy and Death on Arrow, Tempera on Paper Pasted on Canvas, 38 x 36 inches