I invited my family members over to the gallery for a dinner party during Chinese New Year and I was amused at the response of kids to the paintings in the gallery. My sisters’ grandchildren, aged 9 and 10 years, stood in front of a work by Badhan Das and they debated if it was $15 or $15 million.
Their parents explained the meaning of the decimal point: it really depends on where the point lands. I’m not sure if the numbers concerned them.
All they can say was, “it is so dark!”. That was a child’s reaction, but at least the painting caught their attention. The adults understand the ‘landscape’ for its vastness, translucency and poetry.
This particular painting by Indian abstract Maestro, Badhan Das (1944-2002), has always attracted attention. Badhan was born in a remote village of the Barak valley of Assam in India. He was known for his serene and contemplative abstract paintings. But besides being an artist he was also a social activist who tried to preserve, revive and encourage the practice of the folk culture of the Santhals in the villages of Santiniketan. When I visited Santiniketan last year, I visited a member of his family and learnt more about his practice.
One of the two works by Badhan Das in my possession was recently sold. This is really the last I have by the maestro. It takes imagination to create the work and to acquire it.
This is the link to the work :