Rapping the glass ceiling

by Ekatmata Sharma
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As a debutante in the art scene, artist Sumit Roy is as honest as it gets with his first solo exhibition titled ‘I HOPE TO MATCH YOUR FURNITURE’. Representing the millennial generation, this multifaceted young prodigy offers a feast of art, design and rap music to viewers for their intellectual and mainstream pop culture sensibilities. His works amuse and intrigue at the same time.
What is the concept behind your solo show ‘I HOPE TO MATCH YOUR FURNITURE’?

I think of ‘I HOPE TO MATCH YOUR FURNITURE’ as my attempt to bring together disparate strands of thought. My aim is to design a détente between the distinct and perhaps even discordant threads of fine art and rap, Indian and Western aesthetic sensibilities. The white cube of the gallery space is often perceived as cold and unwelcoming while rap music is often thought to be a lower art form, emerging as it did from the streets. The heart of my show was a rap performance at the opening to set the tone for the exhibition. While the messaging is not overtly political, it is, in a sense disruptive, disturbing the current status quo and presenting a viewpoint that is, I hope subtle but also catalyzing for an audience that would not traditionally consume the kind of art and the kind of performance I am presenting to them.
What was the first thing that came to your mind, when you decided to do a rap performance in an art gallery?
The thought of it, was a very scary to do rap in an art gallery, in a government space like India Habitat Center. At the same time, to do something that is really looked down upon as music. It was really an attempt in which I hope I succeeded. I was planning to do it since long. Rap music been the constant source of inspiration behind my art. The idea is to bring rap music to the white cube space. Rap music is usually perceived derogatory, and I wanted to highlight the narrative and storytelling aspect of it. I like spoken word.
How would you continue with the spoken word in the art world?
I will be bringing forth the spoken word to my art. This year I plan to bring theatre and art together. There is a lot more music that will be coming out from my end. I am really happy that all things are finally coming together, which I always wanted to do from so long.
How did your collaboration with Latitude 28 gallery happen?
Bhavna Kakar represents the young and contemporary artists. So, we both vibe very well. We were supposed to do this show two years back, but I wasn’t ready with my works. Finally I got ready, got a few works done and it all happened in a month’s time.
How have you evolved in your art?
I graduated from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda in Painting and Photography. I did portraits in the first year, to a deep interest in the techniques of wash-painting in the second, followed by a knack towards new-media in the third year; the final year summed up- all the art practices that I have explored over the years in search of the image. With recent works, I have gone on to add typography and to produce an image which at once is contemporary and reflective of the popular Indian visual culture, yet bearing the traditional pictorial essence. Even though it appears to be a serigraph, it is all watercolor processed with alternative print techniques, hence discovering a beautiful medium to bridge analog and digital.
The show is on till 18th January 2018 at Visual Arts Gallery (India Habitat Center) and continues at Latitude 28 (Lado Sarai) till 5th February 2018.  

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