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Fusion of colour and ink in "The Painted Verse"
The International Kolkata Book Fair (KBF), the largest attended Book Fair in the world, this year witnessed a wonderful event organised in the Media Centre on Feb 1. There was a special launch of a book, The Painted Verse, by Preeta Chandran and Pankaj Kumar Saxena.

The Fusion of Painting and Poetry has a long history. It began in Greece and Persia in ancient times and in the Renaissance period it flourished in Germany, France and England. In the 1960s, initiative was taken to revive the art globally. George Herbert attempted Altar Poetry in the Renaissance period.

The Kolkata Book Fair was held at Milan Mela, Kolkata, from January 25th, 2017- February 5th, 2017. With an average record footfall of 2.5 million year on year, the International Kolkata Book Fair is truly international in the sense of the term, as book lovers, authors, and publishers from across the globe look forward to participate, present, and share their literary skills with each other and any and everyone who is a patron of embellished letters.

Eminent authors, poets, and other creative personalities from the country graced the inauguration ceremony of the International Kolkata Book Fair.

Kerala-born, Delhi-based writer and poet Preeta Chandran and Bareilly-born, Delhi-based artist and painter Pankaj Kumar Saxena, were invited to this prestigious festival this year, to showcase their book, 'The Painted Verse', and talk about fusion of art and poetry.

In their session on 01 February, 2017 at 'The Media Corner', they spoke about 'Fusion', its evolution and history, and what they are doing in this field. They also showcased their first work in this field, 'The Painted Verse', a unique amalgamation of poetry and painting, which has found a place in the India Book of Records. Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee, the eminent academician and poet spoke about the work of the author and the artist and shared insights on the evolution of fusion.

The event was inaugurated by Shri Jayanta Bagchi from the organising committee of the KBF. Eminent personalities like Prof. Soma Banerjee (Head - Department of English and Director - Centre for Latin American Studies, Rabindra Bharati University), Shri Pranab Ghosh (journalist and blogger) graced the event.

Piyush Bagchi (Secretary - Neelanjana Silpa Sahitya Sanskriti) rendered a Bangla translation of one of the Preeta's poems. Reema Das, a poetess of Assam was present in the event. The event was unique in its format of fusion of two art forms and generated a lot of interactive discussions between authors, academia, and media.

Preeta Chandran is Assistant Vice-President of Genpact, a reputed global organisation. She is a dynamic lady with graduation in Chemistry (Honours) and Masters in Management, now doing Ph.D in Management.

Writing is her lifeline and she experiments diverse genres, haiku micro-poetry. She even tries her hand in short stories. She has been featured and published in large number of international and national anthologies published from prestigious organisations such as Hidden Brook Press of Canada, CCVA published Amravati Poetic Prism, Galerie MP Tresart Canada.

She got many awards from literary journals. Most interesting is that her works have been featured in Fusion Exhibitions in International Galleries even in Canada.

Pankaj Saxena too is born with a talent for painting, a passion she inherited from his uncle who dedicated his life to painting and art. He being a bachelor of Sciences and an IIM Calcuta alumnus is now associated with a renowned global corporation as Assistant Vice President.

His paintings have been featured in Emmaus Gallery, Milan, Italy; Galerie MP Tresart, Canada; Lokayakta Art Gallery, Hauz Khas Village, India Habitat Centre; Habitat World, Canvas Art Gallery, Nehru Place; Academy of Art and Design, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Kala Academy, Bareilly. He designed many book covers for eminent authors. He was awarded for his paintings and after doing painting poetry duets with Preeta Chandran, the conception of The Painted Verse took shape.

In the poem, The Painted Verse, Preeta wrote: "She danced in all her splendour /The sunset, the stars / The rain, the flowers/ The butterflies, the skies....With a myriad of colours and hues/ A small tribute/ The Painted Verse."

It is blending of creativity and sublimity. Picasso experimented with painting and poetry fusion and this book follows closely the great master. As for inspiration, everything about life is their inspiration. The beauty and the mystery of mother nature, the wholesomeness of the Universe, joys and sorrows, love, our families, lives of people around us, and even the seemingly mundane aspects of our day to day lives.

Their love poems are fantastic: That you'll never let me go / Nor ever walk away/ Because .. I love you so." (Because I Love You So). Sometimes the poet feels pain:

"Like the joys I cherished in my heart / I'll treasure the pain too/ I'll hold on to it forever/ Because the pain is you."(Hell Is Heaven). She never forgets to dream: "Time to let go / Till another dream/ Kindles the being." (A Dream). At times she sounds mysterious :" The Promise / Free from its shackles / Carried away by a gust of wind'( The Promise).

Preeta knows life is beautiful and she writes in that poem: "Like the rose, a beauty in spite of the thorns/ Like the lotus that blooms even in a swamp/ Welcome both the Spring and the Fall/ Like the homeless and the wandering tramp"( Life is beautiful).

"Poetry is painting without form, painting is poetry with form" said Kuo Hsi, Northern Sung Landscape Painter. 'The Painted Verse', as the name suggests, is an amalgamation of poetry and painting. There are 50 compositions, each composition a combination of poetry and painting that complement each other.

This collection is a conglomeration of creativity, artistry, spirituality and poetry. It can be enjoyed by a wide range of readers and art and poetry lovers across age groups, as well as upcoming and established writers and artists.

They worked on it for about a year. This was their first fusion work. And the first one cracks and the readers and audience got mesmerised. Life in the Book Fair of Kolkata suddenly turned to a real Painted Verse.

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