The Appeal, Chittaprosad

Chittaprosad Bhattacharya documented the horrors of the man-made Bengal Famine of 1943-44, as a means to drive the masses through revolutionary art. Initially working in the Communist Party of India, he later took the principled stand, along with P.C. Joshi, to defend the nationalist freedom struggle which the CPI deemed as bourgeois. He eventually joined the world peace movement and exhibited works at Prague's National Gallery. A documentary on him, 'Confession', was awarded a special prize by the World Peace Council.

Famine, Chittaprosad

K.C.S. Paniker was an extraordinary painter from Kerala known for his use of vivid colors and a wide range of subjects ranging from Eastern and Western religious traditions, the freedom struggle to abstract mathematical art. His painting 'Blessed are the Peacemakers' depict Christ, the Buddha, and Gandhi amidst the masses of people that responded to them.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, KCS Paniker

Retreat, Zainul Abedin

Zainul Abedin , an art school teacher in Bengal, sketched the Bengal famine to show the ties between poverty and imperial violence. Upon partition he moved to present-day Bangladesh, played a crucial role in the 1971 liberation war, and established art education as part of the public school system.

Liberation, Zainul Abedin

Mother India by Amrita Sher-gil

Amrita Shergil , trained in European art in Hungary, was deeply moved by ancient traditions of Indian art. The late 1930s saw a profound shift in her art which was rooted in the people and ancient traditions which reflected their strivings.

Brooding, Rabindranath Tagore

Mahatma Gandhi, Nandalal Bose

Rabindranath Tagore, the most widely known poet laureate of India, was driven to painting near the end of his life. Mulk Raj describes this departure from the written word as an attempt to bring to practice the revolutionary idea of experimental art, above the abstract idea, to express the inner world, in order to commune with the outer. This expression, for it to find meaning in people's lives, must be creative, not to revive a dead past, but to create a new future.

Nandalal Bose is best known for his illustration of the Constitution of India which depict historic periods from the Vedic to current era. Initiated by Gandhi , he became involved in installing art exhibitions for sessions of the National Congress. His art drew from ancient mural traditions and reflected Indian life in all its variety.

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay responded to Gandhi's call in 1922 and joined the freedom struggle during the non-cooperation movement. She was crucial for the uplift of women by tying the question of women's liberation to the broad movement for independence and uplift of the masses. Her most important contribution was the revival of ancient Indian art by developing the traditional cottage industry in the modern industrial context, and almost singlehandedly playing the role of reinterpreting traditional art for demands of the new times, for she believed that art that is no more relevant, ceases to live.

The Year is organized by members of the Saturday Free School for Philosophy & Black Liberation, based in the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia, in partnership with the Gandhi Global Family.