Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 76

Abhisarika

Kalighat Painting
2009 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This Kalighat painting takes on the theme of secret lovers' trysts at night, as exemplified by the Mughal and Rajput tradition of miniature painting. Abhisarika. meaning 'fearless', would signify a heroine who braved the dangers of the night to meet her lover, personifying the theme of romantic love. The lady in this painting is clearly going see her lover, who is possibly concealed in the shadowy car in the background. Her mobile phone, while shedding light in the dark, also hints at the opportunities provided for modern illicit affairs through the medium of text messaging and private phone calls. The spying face at the window implies that no affair is kept secret for long and that someone always finds out.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Kalighat painting 'Abhisarika', by Kalam Patua, Birbhum district, West Bengal, 2009.

Physical Description
The female figure in the painting is dressed in the traditional draped sari of a bengali woman, painted in Kalam Patua's distinctive style of pastel lilac shades with a black border. Although the palette used is subtle, there is a marked contrast between the deep background blue of the night and the bright light given off by her mobile phone, created by clever use of dark and light colouring.
Dimensions
  • Height: 50cm
  • Width: 56cm
Gallery Label
This Kalighat painting takes on the theme of secret lovers' trysts at night, as exemplified by the Mughal and Rajput tradition of miniature painting. Abhisarika. meaning 'fearless', would signify a heroine who braved the dangers of the night to meet her lover, personifying the theme of romantic love. The lady in this painting is clearly going see her lover, who is possibly concealed in the shadowy car in the background. Her mobile phone, while shedding light in the dark, also hints at the opportunities provided for modern illicit affairs through the medium of text messaging and private phone calls. The spying face at the window implies that no affair is kept secret for long and that someone always finds out. (October 2011 - May 2012)
Summary
This Kalighat painting takes on the theme of secret lovers' trysts at night, as exemplified by the Mughal and Rajput tradition of miniature painting. Abhisarika. meaning 'fearless', would signify a heroine who braved the dangers of the night to meet her lover, personifying the theme of romantic love. The lady in this painting is clearly going see her lover, who is possibly concealed in the shadowy car in the background. Her mobile phone, while shedding light in the dark, also hints at the opportunities provided for modern illicit affairs through the medium of text messaging and private phone calls. The spying face at the window implies that no affair is kept secret for long and that someone always finds out.
Bibliographic Reference
Sinha, Suhashini, and Panda, C, eds. Kalighat Paintings from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2012. ISBN 1851776656.p.108 cat.no 99
Collection
Accession Number
IS.53-2011

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record createdNovember 18, 2011
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