Hemangini Bordoloi’ passion for Arts
At the beginning of the 20th Century also there were restrictions on women’s education, though Modern society was advocating for the education for every member of the society. Women were expected to have only that much education which can take care of the household and the children’ rearing, also their learning was restricted to the 4 walls of the house. Learning the art of painting was one of those educations, but they were to learn drawing and painting from their brothers, father and husband only. Some of the women artists’ paintings were published in any of the magazines sporadically. Women of those days did not see the world outside their 4 walls of the houses. That was the story in any corner of our country.
Hemangini Bordoloi who belonged to Assam, North East of Indian continent, had a different drive for learning and sharing her arts. She was born in 1925 in Jorhat of Assam. Her father Surendranath Bordoloi was a known artist of those days. She had her early education in Jorhat and Dibrugarh. She was married to Upendranath Bordoloi at the age of 12 and went to live with him at North Guwahati. Fate took her to another turn. She lost her husband in her youth, and the loneliness pulled her towards education once again. She completed her Metric examination. Her family was a family of many artists and writers. Her interest towards arts is obvious and understandable. She wanted to learn visual arts but she could not find any trained artists there. She reached Santiniketan, learnt Art and Sculpture and received her degree and returned to her native place.
She took training under the great artists of Santiniketan and that gave her a wonderful experience in art understanding. That had further boosted her passion for arts. She wanted to bring awareness in arts of Assam people and that desire had driven her to work further. Right from 1953, she taught arts in Assam’s girl’s high school for 40 years. She established an art institute “Prasikshana Kala Kendra” at Guwahati and educated women and children on art, Culture, tailoring, embroidery, Model making, and beautiful clay pottery making, etc. She invited many senior and technically perfect artists and artisans to teach in that institute. She donated all her property to this institute. Before she passed away, she donated her art works to Guwahati Art Society. That Art Society itself is maintaining the art institute she established. Later they have organized an exhibition of her art works as a tribute to her work and commitment towards arts.
She painted many freedom fighter’ portraits, painted some of the women’ portraits of commoners and displayed the different expressions of women. Her portrait paintings not only looks with very real like features, she also had the excellent technique, could bring the character of the person very expressively. She also painted compositions on Landscape paintings as well on Radhakrishna themes.
She received many awards, exhibited in Japan and Germany too. Her simplicity, very adorable personality, subtle behavior and her charitable acts on social welfare has influenced many and she remained as a role model for many youngsters of younger generations.
[This is a translation of my article published in Sopathi, Sunday Magazine, Navatelangana Telugu news paper, on 29th July 2019]