Representing tribal peasants with the grace and dignity – Ramkinkar Baij’s sculpture “Santhal Family” – West Bengal

Santhal Family sculpture by Ramkinkar Baji – Photo: Ludwig Pesch

Ramkinkar Baij’s rebellion was against himself, he renewed himself constantly […]

Baij, as famous for his reticence as for his single-minded devotion to art, will be remembered through an exhibition of 500 paintings, his sketch-books and sculptures apart from photographs of his works in Shantiniketan in West Bengal. The exhibition, to be held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi from February 8 to March 31, will be accompanied by six book releases.

Born in Bankura, West Bengal in 1906, Baij’s best-known work is a sculpture called Santhal Family (1938), in which he represents tribal peasants with the grace and dignity that, thus far, had been reserved for gods and rulers in the world of art.

Source: Santhal Warrior – Indian Express
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Date Visited: Sat Feb 18 2012 10:29:17 GMT+0100 (CET)

When he arrived at Santiniketan, he was at the zenith of his career and both Nandalal Bose and Rabindranath Tagore realised that Ramkinkar perhaps needed no training. The Santhals, the arid Khoai, the open sky combined with the tremendous freedom that the institution Kala Bhavan offered him at Santiniketan as a teacher and student, brought to the fore his creative best. Baij, in his frenzied quest to develop a new modern language in painting and sculpture, invested spontaneity, vitality and dynamism in his works, which stand unique till date.

His works talk about people, places and things as he focuses on rural treasures and the stocky and robust Santhals, the original inhabitants of the land. He talks about a society free from technological invasion and one where Nature dominates the pulse of life. We get to see wallowing buffaloes in mud-pools, harvesters threshing corn with an easy charm, or a Santhal family relaxing on a cot, in his watercolours. Every nook and corner of Santiniketan provided him subjects of pastoral innocence, evoking in us a strong sense of belonging that the artist had.

Source: The Hindu : FEATURES / FRIDAY REVIEW : Baij, the unsung hero
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Date Visited: 30 September 2020

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Source: “Tagore, Gitanjali and the Nobel Prize” by Nilanjan Banerjee in
India Perspectives (24 No. 2/2010) | More about Tagore and rural education >>
Freedom: Accountability, Democracy, Education & Rights of Indigenous Peoples >>

View this slideshow and more on the website of the National Gallery >>

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