I love observing people—people from all walks of life, stature, class and community.
Some of the characters are culled from my observations as a ringside viewer in public spaces, others are faint echoes of family members- my mother, uncle or niece. Having grown up in the cultural milieu of Kolkata, where practically every household displayed their pianos, tea sets, framed family photographs, Tagore classics and Morris cars with immense pride, I also developed a penchant for artifacts. It is these imprints of people, places and possessions that materialize in my works.
The stances, gestures, emotive eyes, attires of the human beings are vital elements in my work. I like to focus on their relationships with one another, the culture that nurtures these relationships, and the objects that form the visual backdrop. The radio or the Ambassador car inadvertently pins down persons in my works into a temporal and cultural context—evoking a sense of déjà vu.
I tend to conceive my paintings as ragas—only the selection of notes is the color palette and the tanpura is my paintbrush. The textures form the nuances of the notes, and depict the effect of time on spaces. The visuals I paint are inspired by nostalgia, a result of dwelling on times long gone. The spaces in my paintings oscillate between the present and the past, the here and there.
A melody from an old black and white Marathi film, or the robustness of Kumar Gandharva’s rendition spurs me to create its visual analogy. As I move back and forth from the courtyard of our childhood waada with its canopy of moonlit sky to the grandeur of the Rajput fortresses I visited recently, I am overwhelmed with the immense possibilities of recreating the harmony between the two that is absolutely perfect within my imagined world. A world, where melody echoes in ancestral homes, around ornate gates and tall trees. Spaces, where I sometimes invite celestial beings of lore.