Nostalgia of Indian Steam Locomotives a series of paintings by Kishore Pratim Biswas

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Whether it’s about showcasing Indian railways of the early 70’s or celebrating the Indian Steam Locomotives, Kishore Pratim Biswas’s series of paintings on steam locomotives depict an idiosyncratic collection. A Mumbai based artist, each of Mr Biswas’s paintings tells the story of the daily life of the steam locomotive workshop of the 70’s Indian Railways.

Kishore Pratim Biswas was born in 1971 in Kolkata - The city of joy. His work has been showcased at several solo and group exhibitions in India and aboard. The artist skilfully combines several versatile techniques. He experiments with different painting styles to continuously improve his skills.

“Indian Steam Locomotives had an unusual character which reflects in my paintings. The colours of the engine were mostly black and grey, while the body looked too muddy, dusty and unclean which gave its surface a unique look and which lend the locomotives the distinct character. I have never found anything as interesting as these locomotives in the world. I liked the ineffable ambient of white steam and black engine which is a dramatic visual experience for me. I feel crazy when I see these locomotives and love to do its live painting on watercolour, oil, pen and ink sketch,” says Kishore.

“Although these beauties are no longer in action, they continue to fascinate me. I used to regularly go to the railway workshop in the mornings for sketching the locomotives when i was in Calcutta . However one particular day in the early 90s turned out to a very sad day for me. I saw the engines being dismantled and sent away as scrap as the steam locomotives were no longer being operated. It was a very shocking experience for me and I was left in tears realizing that it also meant that I could no longer finish my series on the Indian Steam Locomotives,” he adds.

Each painting captures a unique group of locomotive workers which reflects the artist’s close observation of people in the Indian Railways of 70’s.

“I have captured the movement of people including the fireman, signalman, technical man, motorman and others working in the locomotive workshops. My paintings always has a deep expression of the characters, the faces have beard and are too dark with a red pagri ( turban)which looks very unusual,” says Kishore.

“Sometimes I rode in the engine with the motorman. It was a remarkable experience. I got to witness how they work at close quarters. The engine used to be very hot and they had to spend a lot of time in it and yet they kept a smiling face and never complaint ” he says.

It’s a glimpse into the lives of 70’s Indian railways.

“I’m happy because when I look at my  canvas, I don’t have to compare my work with others, since my subject is such  . I don’t compare the way I look, the way I feel, the work that I do. I don’t compare my level of happiness. I don’t compare my achievements because I have spent so many years painting the subject of my choice . I feel i am incomparable and i don’t believe in this race of who is better than whom concludes Kishore.

Artist: 
Kishore Pratim Biswas
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