Remembering Parvez Kabir
JohnyML remembers Parvez Kabir, the young art historian who passed away on 27th September 2013.
“Amongst serious looking faces, his was a smiling one, quite reassuring,” remembers R.Sivakumar, well-known art historian and professor of Art History at Kalabhavana, Santiniketan where Parvez Kabir, who passed away on 27th September 2013, was a faculty member. “Parvez was hardly thirty years old. And I would say he was a link between the young generation of students and old generation of teachers,” Sivakumar adds. Parvez Kabir is a promise that remains unfulfilled. Young people fondly called him Parvez Da, in the true traditional spirit of Santiniketan. Teachers and students liked him alike for the wide range of interests in Art History that he had nurtured. From Renaissance to the design traditions of 19th century India, from popular culture to caste and religion, from aesthetics of everyday to aesthetics of classics, Parvez took interest in too many things in art history and in all of them he was equally sincere. He was preparing for conducting a national seminar on Nandalal Bose and Design Traditions of India in Santiniketan. But Time claimed him.
The news of Parvez’ disappearance from earthly life came to me in the name of a text message. I was about to sleep. The news read out to me was confirmed further by a phone call. Reality of Parvez’ death and the temporary death in the form of sleep met in that one moment. Who says that we would get up from the sleep? Next morning, I found facebook was not flooded by the news of Parvez’ death as it was different in the case of Chinmoy Pramanik. Perhaps, Parvez was not so popular but he definitely was popular amongst the academic circuit. He attended several seminars both in India and abroad. He wrote research papers for journals and wrote light articles for magazines. He selected a path of political correctness. But at times political correctness would make you a non-human being; you become an adorable personality but others see you as someone who belongs to a group; a correct group. Parvez belonged to a correct group. May be that choice was right for him.
|(L to R: Anshuman Dasgupta,Parvez Kabir,Sanjoy Mallik, R Sivakumar, Soumik Nandi Majumdar, Janak Jankar Narzari)|
Parvez Kabir came to me first in the form an email when he was a student in Baroda. He showed his interest in writing in a journal that I was editing at that time. He wrote a few articles but then he got busy with his academic pursuits. When in May 2007, Baroda Fine Arts Faculty was vandalized by right wing fundamentalists he was at the forefront to oppose it. Then I met him person. I found a small time boy in him who was struggling to adopt himself to the urban ways. Those were the days of market boom. Everyone was shaking a leg even though they knew the movements were clumsy. Parvez appeared in a couple of parties in Delhi with a few young friends. I am sure that he impressed whoever he had met at that point of time. On the third time, I met him in Mumbai, in a seminar organized by the Mohile Parikh Centre. I remember it was a seminar on the use of regional languages in art criticism. I noticed the way Parvez articulated himself; he spoke with a lisp. I found it odd in the beginning and then it became a part of his style. The young crowd listened to him attentively.
When Santiniketan offered a job in the art history department at Kalabhavana, he was happy to take it up. Most of his friends had moved to Delhi after the Baroda fiasco. But Parvez chose to go back to his alma mater, Santiniketan. According to Sivakumar, Parvez, amongst the young generation of art historians and art history teachers, was the true inheritor of the Santiniketan legacy. He did his schooling there at Pathabhavana and his BFA in art history at Kalabhavana. Baroda was a sojourn, a way to know the world outside. He was more at home in Santiniketan. His tenure as a resident critic at the Khoj International Artists Residency in Delhi or so many opportunities to present papers in national seminars in Delhi did not attract him to this place. He always wanted to go back to Santiniketan. Had he been alive, he would have become one of the very distinct voices from Santiniketan.
|(Parvez Kabir during his lecture)|
Last time Parvez communicated with me was when he sent me an article that he had written with a lot of enthusiasm on Rajni Kant, the film icon. I read it and I liked the way he had developed his ideas. But the problem with the article was lack of deep research; while it showed a new verve to locate the film icon it lacked in first-hand knowledge. I pointed out this to him. He accepted my criticism and promised to make further studies on that subject.
Parvez was a healthy young man. It was viral fever that claimed his life. He was complaining stomach and chest pain and was under the spell of high fever. A week before, the local doctors advised him of advanced medical check ups. Friends and relatives took him to Durgapur, the nearest town with better medical facilities. Retention of water in lungs was detected and doctors found out that the area around his heart also had affected by water retention, which had made the pumping of heart difficult. Slowly it affected his kidneys. And a beautiful life was cut short.
When I look at my writing career, sadly I am reminded of the deaths of my friends and acquaintances and the obituaries I have written on them. I hate writing obituaries. I can write obituaries for those people who have made their marks and have become a part of history and establishment. I can write about their achievements dispassionately and even say that with the death of so and so an era comes to an end. Platitudes and clichés come to help me there. But when young people who are yet to bloom fully fade off at the prime of their lives, I feel helpless and each word that I write becomes an incision on my soul, and I bleed.
Parvez Kabir is no more. But his works remain. So he lives on.
Mumbai and Banaras
|( A work by Parmesh Paul)|
The JS Art Gallery, Mumbai presents a solo show of paintings by immensely talented artist Parmesh Paul. The exhibition is titled 'Mumbai and Banaras'. The artist has tried to present reality of the two varying cities through his artworks.
The artist studied in 'International Society For Krishna Consciousness' from 1992 to 2002. He has presented various solo exhibitions and has also been a part of group exhibitions.
The show displays his perspectives about the two cities in their landscapes and spiritual approaches to life.
The show is on view till 30th September 2013.
Salt: The Great March
|(A work by Shelly Jyoti)|
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, (IGNCA), New Delhi presents a solo show titled, ‘Salt: The Great March’. New Delhi-based artist and poet Shelly Jyoti brings forth a new body of work in a solo show by re-crafting contemporary quilt-making traditions in azrakh textiles.
The show features a large khadi fabric site specific installation, sculptural installation of khadi yarn, 25 contemporary artworks using azrakh traditions of printing and dyeing on khadi fabric needle crafted by women amongst other things.
The show is on view till 20th October 2013.
|(Pooja Kshatriya with her work)|
Red Earth and artist Pooja Kshatriya have collaborated for a very special exhibition titled, ‘Blue’ showcasing ten of Pooja’s exclusive mix media works.
The artist attempts to depict celebration of the monsoon season with the indomitable colour blue and in depicting her adaptations of the colour blue of Lord Krishna in her unique contemporary series.
This series celebrates the monsoon fiesta like never before.
The show is on till 4th October 2013.
|(Avantika Mathur with her work)|
Tangerine art space, Bangalore will feature an art exhibition by Mumbai based artist Avantika Mathur, titled 'Transcendental Dreams'. On display is a collection of bright and surreal works related to the spiritual realm.
It provides the artist's interpretation of the mystical spiritual transcendence with her bold strokes and bright colours.
Avatika Mathur has studied fine arts in her graduation and visual arts in creative painting at the masters' level. She mostly works around feminine themes and uses various symbolisms in her paintings.
The show is on view till 5th October 2013.
(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)