Sudipta Das

by Ekatmata Sharma

Brought up with thoughts of displacement, artist Sudipta Das is a fourth generation Bangladeshi migrant in India. Her exhibition titled as “The Surface of Memory” at Latitude 28 gallery weaves her personal history of displacement as a migrant into universal concerns. She presents her works through mixed-media using paper dyed in different colours and wooden boards.
Sudipta Das, Mobile House, Water colour, coffee, wash, pulp, acid free paper on board, 107_ x 57_, 2016 _low res
The 31-year-old Baroda-based artist covers wooden boards with paper and then layers them with pieces of paper in numerous dimensions to create textural variations. Dyed in tea, coffee and pastel water colours, the pieces represent different elements. The layers of fragile paper represent the precarious history.
Fascinated with reconstructed history, where numerous narratives co-exist, she deliberately obliterated the identity of national heroes such as Jawaharlal Nehru to Muhammad Ali Jinnah through pixelation between 2010 and 2011 so that the viewers would keep guessing. In Samadhi, a 2013 life-size installation, a man dressed in an royal attire wore boots with photographs of local people who served the king.
Her most works expose the struggle between the ground reality and existential crisis.
Reflecting on the turbulent times of today is almost a constant in her work since she completed her Masters in Fine Arts from Santiniketan in 2011.
Sudipta Das, The Great Shift, Water colour, coffee, wash, pulp, acid free paper on board, 107_ x 47_, 2016 _low res
In today’s turbulent times across borders and territories, Sudipta Das’ work achieves crucial relevance. The unending voyages of the dispossessed across cultural and political boundaries in human history serve as a vast backdrop for Sudipta’s artistic pursuit. The attempt to create a subtle lyricism continues with Sudipta’s use of allusions of great works from the history of visual art, stained paper strips surge along with ‘The Great Wave’ of Hokusai and boats carrying refugees ride those waves, Noah’s ark from the painting of American folk artist Edward Hicks reappears as made out of paper pulp projecting out from the surface, and sails over the unending ripples of a vast ocean-scape, the mood of displaced people on board accentuated by a melancholic sky in the background, where rhythmically pasted stained paper strips forms a cluster of whirling clouds. Sudipta Das was born in Assam in 1985. She completed her BFA and MFA in painting from Kala Bhavan, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Sudipta’s first solo show, ‘Break II’ was held at Gandhara Art Gallery in 2013. Since then she participated in several group shows and residencies all over the India and globe.
Her exhibition “The Surface of Memory” is on at Latitude 28 gallery. Lado Sarai, New Delhi till September 10, 2016.

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