KALIMA – the Black Mother
An exhibition of paintings and poetry
Galerie Holm, Malmo, Sweden
Images by Amitava Bhattachrya
Poetry by Rabinarayan Dash
View or Download the pdf of paintings
by Felicia Selmer, Galerie Holm
When Amitava Bhattacharya invites us into his own understanding of Kalima – the black mother, his work somehow goes beyond mere visual representation. It becomes a sensory exposé, the creating of a landscape available to the touch. Amitava grew up in an atmosphere where the mother goddess wasn’t just contemplated but lived. From an early age he would watch the making of her idol out of clay and wood by local craftsmen. Perhaps this is what gives him that special ability to communicate something organic and very tangible in his art. Even his distinct technique, the careful layering of different media, adds to the tactile, multidimensional quality of his work.
From a thematic point of view Amitava provides a landscape rich in symbolism. We encounter the snake, streams of blood, the lotus and the cutting scissors, all connected to the mother goddess in her different forms. We meet Kali giving birth and in the act of having severed her own head from her body. In many of Amitava’s pieces the narrative line gives way to a landscape where everything seems to occur simultaneously, creation and destruction taking place at the same time. He does not shy away from the grotesque, he allows for the fragmented and seemingly chaotic. But there are also moments of utter serenity. Such as when he uses the soft preciseness of the brush to let the black mother stand in solitary magnificence.
Amitava Bhattacharya has found his own contemporary way of exploring the themes of Kalima, and in doing so he reminds us of the universal appeal that they carry. With a sense of urgency he invites us to look into our own understanding of death, life, fear and trust.