Sketching a Famine: Chittaprosad in India

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August 29 2019

PRICE: $5 General admission. Children, students, Quinnipiac faculty and staff and museum members enter for free.

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May 5-October 11. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 1-5 p.m. Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University presents its newest exhibition, "Sketching a Famine: Chittaprosad in India."

A self-taught artist, poet, storyteller, and an active member of the Communist Party of India, Chittaprosad Bhattacharya drew inspiration for his art from village sculptors, artisans and puppeteers. In 1943-44, he experienced the Bengal famine firsthand, resulting in his brutally honest depiction of human suffering in stark drawings and sketches made in pen and ink. These drawings and reports were published in the Communist journal "People's War," and culminated in Hungry Bengal, an eyewitness report comprised of written text and profuse sketches in stark black-and-white, copies of which were seized and destroyed by the British.

A self-conscious, reflective testimony, the drawings and caricatures of this period were a forceful outcry against the tyranny of domination, an indictment of prevailing conditions and an appeal on behalf of the laboring poor and the marginalized. The 1943-44 Bengal Famine saw an estimated three million people starve to death or die of disease. The museum, located at 3011 Whitney Ave., is home to the world's largest collection of visual art, artifacts and printed materials relating to the Irish Famine. The museum preserves, builds and presents its art collection in order to stimulate reflection, inspire imagination and advance awareness of Ireland's Great Hunger and its long aftermath on both sides of the Atlantic.

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