May 20, On This Day
A chief minister’s artistry
A decade ago, on May 20, 2011, Mamata Banerjee was sworn in as the Chief Minister of West Bengal — the first woman to hold this post. Interestingly, the politician is also touted as an artist.
In fact, she even gifted an artwork to President Ram Nath Kovind last year on his maiden visit to the eastern state after assuming office, who promised to hang it at the Rashtrapati Bhawan gallery in New Delhi.
More recently, during the elections in the state as well, she was captured painting during a protest against a campaign ban imposed on her by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Protest seems to be a recurring theme in her oeuvre, as some of her paintings against the government’s new laws, which erupted in 2019, are also displayed outside Esplanade metro station in Kolkata, along with works of 44 other artists.
Her artwork also hit some controversy in 2016 after the price of some paintings escalated 450% in two days, sparking questions from some quarters.
Another memorable moment was in 2017, when she designed a sculpture outside the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata as it was one of the venues for the the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Its unusual nature sparked quite a lot of dialogue on the internet.