Kuhoo Mitra, a resident of New York, will present her artwork at Kolkata  

Kuhoo's artwork is going to be officially displayed today at 'Calcutta Rowing Club'.

21-years-old Kuhoo Mitra‘s talent is versatile. Basically she is a painter. Kuhoo Mitra paints in mediums like acrylic, watercolor, pen and ink, charcoal etc. Kuhoo Mitra has already attracted attention by illustrating the covers of various books and illustrating stories. Kuhoo‘s artwork is going to be officially displayed today at ‘Calcutta Rowing Club’.

Through a press release, Kuhoo said, she loved to paint since childhood. Kuhoo enjoyed seeing the pictures displayed in various art galleries. So it can be said that Kuhoo’s love for drawing was from that childhood. Kuhoo told, she was just four or five years old when she knew she wanted to pursue a career in Visual Arts. She read a lot of children’s books, and influenced by the pictures in them, she would draw her own characters and sceneries. Her parents always encouraged her passion for art. Growing up, she visited many art galleries like Academy of Fine Arts and Birla Academy with them and was greatly inspired by the works she saw there.

Kuhoo regularly took part in art competitions. Her artworks were published in ‘The Telekids’ quite often. Once, at the age of 6, she won the first prize in the Annual Children’s Day competition hosted by the newspaper. She also received the Regional Winner trophy in an All India Art competition hosted by INTACH (2017-2018) when she was 14 years old.

Kuhoo studied in Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata from nursery to Class 12. Her teachers played a big role in encouraging her to pursue illustration as a career. She represented the school in many inter-school fests and was also selected to be a part of the Design Team for the school magazine. She also let us know that while in school she experimented with several mediums – acrylics, watercolors, pen and ink, graphite and charcoal, to name a few. In school she first learnt how to do linocut printing which she enjoyed immensely and continues to do frequently even now.

Kuhoo’s primary interest in art stemmed from children’s books. Ever since she learnt to read, she read voraciously. The illustrations in those books took her to places that she had never before seen or heard of and opened up new worlds for her.

Kuhoo noticed the lack of illustrated children’s books written in Bengali. She further said, that in spite of the increasing diversity in the picture book industry, Bengali culture still remains fairly underrepresented in picture books written in English. Therefore, she wants to make picture books for children and young adults that have Bengali protagonists and explore the unique aspects of Bengali culture. She has already written and illustrated a fifteen page book about Durga Puja in Bengali that she silkscreened and handbound herself.

Kuhoo left for New York City right after she graduated from high school in 2021 to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts, NYC with a partial scholarship from the college. She has just completed her third year and will begin her final year in the coming fall. Her education there is playing a huge role in her development as an artist. She feels lucky to be living in a city full of museums like MET and MoMA and studying under professors who are all eminent illustrators. 

Before she left Kolkata, while still in school, Kuhoo started her professional career as a freelance illustrator in 2018 when she illustrated the cover of a book of Bengali poems titled ‘Samoyer Chokhe’, by Subhanu Mitra. In 2020 she illustrated the cover of a book of Bengali short stories titled ‘Oder Galpo’, by Shreya Ghosh.

This is Kuhoo’s first exhibition. She has chosen to exhibit a variety of work that differ in size, style and subject matter. She has included works in acrylic, pen and ink, gouache, charcoal, linocut, mixed media, etc. She is also exhibiting copies of three books that she has made herself. The illustrations, typography, design and binding of all three books are completely her own.

Some subjects Kuhoo hopes to explore in her future books and illustrations are breaking stereotypes about Bengalis, celebrating Bengali customs, food and culture, and discussing the history of Bengal and the Indian subcontinent. 

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