New Delhi: Sallow faces, sorrow-filled eyes, grim smiles and protruding ribs are the hallmarks of Kolkata-based artist Rabin Mondal's body of work, which will be displayed in a retrospective in the capital Monday.
The paintings are bathed in dark hues, reflecting the tragic realities of life, and the darkness of the human soul.
In the exhibition aptly titled the "Kingdom of Exile", drawings and paintings from his five-decade career have been mounted at the spacious Delhi Art Gallery (DAG), which has accommodated over 50 works of his.
Belonging to the post-Independence generation of modern artists in Bengal, the 85-year-old grew up experiencing famine, debilitating childhood illness and the strife-torn years of Kolkata in the '60s and '70s. These happenings marked his psyche and found expression in his art.
Mondal took to drawing and painting at the age of 12 when he injured his knee and was confined to bed.
"I would paint my family members when I was bedridden. They were the original models whom I painted for almost four years," Mondal told reporters in an interview.
According to Mondal, "art is not a pleasure" and it should reflect the deeper psyche and the agony of the human mind.
As a consequence, he has always excelled in painting the grim realities of life and the decay of human nature.
He was also deeply moved by the inequalities that existed within society and the tendency of humans to be swayed by the power of wealth.
As per DAG's website, Mondal's works reveal a growing abhorrence towards mankind's moral decay in all spheres of life.
"He invented a language in paint that could express his anguish and rage towards the decadence and frequent inhumanity he saw around him," it said.
The exhibition will be on view till Feb 14, 2015.