Debasish Mukherjee

by Ekatmata Sharma
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Artist Debasish Mukherjee’s recent works reflect his concern for heritage. In his debut show he reconstructs architectures and objects from his past in order to raise questions around preservation and neglect. Donning the hat of a museum curator, a Bangla poet and a thoughtful artist, Mukherjee expresses his emotions in diverse mediums.
04 Chakravyuha
How did you start your journey in art?
Like any other kid I too used to fill my notebook with random drawings, but with time it became a serious hobby and by the time I decided to study Fine Arts at Banaras Hindu University, I was deep into it. My journey of self-discovery began from the city of Benares during the early nineties and is still on. I was born in a place called Chapra in Bihar. In childhood I used to go a place called Chirand, an excavated heritage site.  I was fascinated by the heritage of the place. I have always preferred a fine balance between the inward and outward journeys, and this has been fascinating so far. I started expressing my feeling through art from 1994.
When did you discover your love for heritage?
Every year during our summer holidays we used to go to Benares. Quite early in life I began feeling strongly for our rich heritage and that is not just for monuments and architecture, but also for music, culture and all kinds of art forms. Benares is full of old monuments; sometimes when you are walking down a street you will suddenly chance  upon an ancient monument, and a century old page opens up in front of you that  changes the entire dynamics of that particular moment.  It is an amazing experience!
02 Reminiscences
 What inspires your art?
Anything, which touches  me, soft or loud; from an innocent smile to a world war; from a passionate kiss to the kiss of death — it could be just anything. I have different mediums of expression like poetry, drawings, paintings and installations. From the last two years I have been deeply involved with the idea of heritage and have been working on “The Museum Within”.
How did the idea of ‘The Museum Within’, emerge?
I have been thinking about this for quite some time. Very little of our historic past has been preserved in museums and textbooks, and most of it lies out in the open around us. The way we have taken for granted our rich heritage without sparing a thought for preserving its dignity has always greatly disturbed me. Be it the national capital or any other city, I have seen monuments being taken over by locals, with some even living within them. Such desecration reflects a complete lack of respect towards things we should have been proud of. It has been my effort to unravel the complex layers of co existence, and focus on the many aspects of our past, much of which still remains undeciphered and unexplained.
03A (Custom) (2)
Please share your style of work. What mediums do you like to work with and why?
Style is the reflection of our inner self; hence it has to come from within. My approach towards art is contemporary and often the subject drives its technique or style. Though I am formally  trained in painting,  I love to explore various mediums, and that could be anything like wood, paper, terracotta, fabric  or metal to name a few. I don’t like to limit myself in terms of medium. Every medium has its pluses and minuses, and exploring the possibilities within these limitations is always fun. I like working on mythological subjects, as it is very abstract.
“The Museum Within”, is on view till November 5th, 2016 at Gallery Akar Prakar, New Delhi.

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