Letters to Nandalal

An Online Dialogue between the Postcards of Nandalal Bose
and Students of Kala Bhavana

Curators’ Note

- Sanchayan Ghosh and Arpan Mukherjee

For Nandalal Bose artistic production was a continuous process. He would carry a bunch of postcards with him wherever he travelled, paint whatever he saw, and send them to his friends, family and colleagues. Although there were others who, like him, sent out painted postcards, it was in his hands that the art of the painted postcard reached new heights and explored fresh possibilities as an interplay of visual and written communication.


In this time of pandemic when physical distancing has become the norm of daily practice and conversation is being limited to online platforms, sharing has to have multiple forms of existence. ‘Postcards to Nandalal’ is conceived as a conversation between the students of Kala Bhavana and the postcard collection that is on display as a part of ‘The Art of the Painted Postcard: Nandalal Bose and His Contemporaries.’ Students were invited to respond to individual postcards with hand-drawn postcards of their own and the responses are for all to see.


Every year, 3rd of December is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Nandalal Bose preceded by the Nandal Mela which spans over two days (1st and 2nd December). Nandan Mela is an occasion that kindles the collective spirit and interactive environment through different workshops and community art projects. Since organizing the Mela on-site was not possible under the present circumstances, the proposed online conversation provides an opportunity for students to come together and engage with the collection of letters, and to share their individual responses to the postcards either in the form of an image or writing.

Postcard in landscape orientation. Drawn with ink, it is Nandalal's sketch of Taj Mahal. It is placed a little off centre, as if Nandalal does not wish to prioritize it but makes it part of a larger landscape that includes rivers, roads and vegetation. The line drawing is evocative and it is interesting that even in the minimalist style, it is difficult to mistake it for any other structure.
Taj Mahal, Agara, 1940
Sea Waves, Puri, 1941

Travelling, Painting, Posting

Birds, Animals, Figure Studies

Flowers, Trees, and the Environs of Santiniketan