Chittoprasad : The People’s Artist

In this post under the section ‘Indian Communist Photos’, we publish a photo of Chittoprasad Bhattacharya whose paintings and art became a weapon in the hands of Indian masses in their struggle for emancipation. 


Born in 1915 in Naihati, Bengal, Chittaprosad was a self-taught artist and a member of the Communist Party of India. His art inspirations were drawn from the village sculptors, artisans and puppet-players. In 1943-44 Chittoprasad’s firsthand experience of the Bengal Famine disaster resulted in his sensitive depiction of human suffering in pen and ink sketches. The experience of the disaster culminated in the Hungry Bengal, an eyewitness report comprising of written text and profuse sketches in stark black-and-white. The sketches in Hungry Bengal operated from a linguistic code of abbreviated realism; Chittaprasad nevertheless guided his pen and brush to pick out the essentials of the emaciated form caught in swift strokes that terminated in brisk turns and sharp jabs. However, detail and precision of different kind would be found in Chittaprasad’s propaganda posters for the party. His drawings were published in the Communist Party journals like ‘Peoples War’ and ‘Janayudha’. Reports based on his travels and expeditions were also published in English as a pamphlet titled ‘Hungry Bengal’, by the Peoples Publishing House, Bombay. Powerful and emotive, his art of caricature emerged as a statement in favour of the oppressed masses and as a denunciation of the ruling class.

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