With artists like Partha Pratim Deb, Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Jayshree Chakraborty, Prabir Gupta, Mithu Sen, Asim Purakayastha, Debraj Goswami, Paula Sengupta, Adip Dutta, Debanjan Roy, Amritah Sen, Rajesh Deb, Arindam Chatterjee, Samindranath Majumdar and a few more like them, at their creative height, there, although is no reason to be diffident about the creativity of the non-performing visual artists of Bengal today, a lack of general enthusiasm, not to speak of awareness, and enterprise around these arts and artists make the present bleak and the future uncertain. As the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega Y'Gasset had, three quarter of a century ago, observed that a revolt of the masses lead to a surge of uncultivated taste, enthusiasm for less-than-mediocre and blind acceptance of demagoguery in the place of opinion, seem to be the ultimate causes, along, perhaps with the general economic downturn persisting unabated since the third quarter of the year 2007, of the present state of the arts.
One commonly observed fact is, that in bleak hopeless times cultures/peoples/nations tend to fall back upon the glorious chapters of history. Nothing wrong in it. But there is that obvious danger of assertion of 'old is gold'. However, if the will to look at history, leads to a critical review of causes and effects of achievement and failures, in any field of human activity, those may provide valuable input to the field of activity, provided the activists are ready to give to the generated input it's due cognition. In keeping with the “commonly observed” general proneness, and with the serious intention to engage ourselves, as art activists, in a relook into the history of non-performing visual arts of Bengal, from their coming into contact with the West, Art Etc. news & views decided to devote two consecutive numbers of the journal to the discourse. The first issue was on the varieties of response to the initial spot of cultural contact which were not marked by any individualistic approach, and could be termed as protomodern, for that reason.
The current issue deals with Bengal art since the emergence of the individual artist with distinct-personal choice of thematic and visualinguistic concerns, as well as sensibilities. Emergence of the individual artist, however, had never been a negation of formation of trends, movements and schools, based on commonality of thematic and visualinguistic concerns, at different micro-periods and locations of origin, within the span of time in review. The issue focuses its gaze on the high-lights of each trend, movement and/or school as represented by individual painters and/or sculptors. The cryptic studies are by art historians, critics and art scribes who are known to have studied their subjects in great details for lengths of time. So, cryptic though these thumbnail sketches are, these nevertheless give overviews of the subjects dealt with.
Art Etc. news & views, perhaps the first ever dangerously ambitious monthly journal of visual arts, with it's over-enthusiastic calculations gone haywire, has itself fallen a victim to the bleak times. With this issue on the history of modern art in Bengal, the monthly art journal itself passes into history. The publishers, however, are hopeful about its resurrection as a new avatar, albeit after a gap.