Painting has been to me an expression of the innermost and an intrusion into the farthest. It is through the forms that breathe out of my canvas that I have known, named and lived life. Every thought, every strife, every defeat and every renewed effort have come to assume ‘real’ dimensions in my painting.
Looking back at my work over the years, I would class my earliest productions (that range between 2006 and 2008) as emerging out of that urge to mirror the personal into a truth truer than the living person. They arise out of the intimate – situations, circumstances and contexts – but then move on to question the possibility of the private in painting. Working with different media (charcoal, ink, acrylic and oil on paper and canvas), I have tried to recreate visions of myself – often at war with the immediate and the everyday. Distorted bodies and dismembered feelings have found artistic expression through a deliberate blending of the ideas of form and formless, human and inhuman/animal, thing and no(n)thing, movement and (ar)rest, image and the imagined. With a deliberate insistence of the colours red and black, I have attempted to highlight the violence in beauty and the truth in ordinary.
The next series of my work spans over a period of almost a year from late‐2009 to 2010. Titled ‘Migratory Birds’, this series began with my own migration from a small town in Bengal to the national capital and its metropolitan panoramas. In my journey I read an allegory of a thousand other limbs that had then precariously perched the capital for sustenance. Delhi at that time was basking in the cosmetic colours of the Commonwealth Games, touted as the symbol of national pride. My work ‘Migratory Birds’ was an attempt to look beyond “what is on” and “what is inside” the glamorous face of the CWG in order to unravel “what is behind it” (Picasso). Through the means of my art, I wanted to pay tribute to the unnoticed physical investment of those migrant workers in orange vests and yellow helmets who have sealed each brick with their sweat to raise the resplendence of the CWG. Whether in oil, acrylic, water colour or pen‐and‐ink, this series spoke for my political and social commitment in hues that again borrowed from the everyday and the everyman.
My current work strives towards a thoughtful confluence of the social and the individual, by often resorting to my own poetry. It is a poetry of the prosaic in living, making a bread crumb of a sliced moon. These paintings articulate a new idiom of seeing – the sight/site of my self becoming another, many others. Noticeably, there has been a curious sense of continuity in my work so far – which however does not preclude a development across time. I have straddled the realms of the inner and the outer, sometimes privileging one and at others balancing both. Inasmuch as my ideas do not take off from the ideal, they question the validity of the latter and the possibility of its existence. Is the idea bred in the vacancies advertised by the Imagination, or are they lived in reality? Can it have one shape, one form and one image? My attempts at answering these questions make my work various yet continuous, and the choice of medium again differs with the demands of the idea.