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Chittaprosad Bhattacharya

(1915 - 1978) Born in West Bengal, he was a self-taught artist who was refused admission in the Government School of Art, Kolkata and the Kala Bhawan, Santiniketan. He experimented constantly with the art of picture making and was a master of many forms. He quickly adapted to the need of the times and switched to simpler lines and fewer exaggerations of forms. During the period of famine in Bengal Bhattacharya produced a series of sketches of men, women, children, animals, etc. along with Somnath and other artists. His hard-hitting caricatures and sketches of the poor dying in the Bengal famine (1943) worked like modern day reportage, and shook the middle class and the British officials out of their apathy. In 1946, he moved to Mumbai and joined the Communist Party of India, and started making a work series on Navel Mutiny. Bhattacharya's works reflect his reformist concerns. They are a depiction of the images that were his preoccupation --- poor peasants and laborers. His reformist concerns showed in his life too, when he refused to use his Brahminical surname 'Bhattacharyya'. Today, collectors and lovers of art treasure Bhattacharya's woodcuts, linocuts and posters immensely. He was also interested in poetry and published many books. He formed a group of puppetry called ‘Khela Ghar’. His works have been published in many books as well as in the manifesto letters of the Communist Party. He also drew a series of sketches on freedom fighters. Amongst his noted works are the posters and paintings of the Naval Mutiny in Bombay (1946). He even joined the World Peace Movement. Bhattacharya first exhibited in Prague's National Gallery and was heralded in the international artist community as a master. 'Confession', a documentary on his life by Pavel Hobl (Czech) won a special prize from the World Peace Council. Bhattacharya passed away in 1978.