Caravan 1st April 2018

Society’s paradox

Artist Biswajit Das’ paintings hold up a mirror to the dualities of the individual and groups, says Ramya Palisetty

A painting with a woman sitting on a throne, a parrot carrying a scroll between its teeth surrounded by five blind women sitting and in the corner, there is Ravana. The painting is a depiction of the status of women since Ramayana and Mahabharata. Though the society is changing but the position of women in the hierarchy remains the same. Even today, a woman can be a scholar studying her PhD or working in an MNC earning well but, at the end of the day, her mother-in-law still expects her to cook and serve the family

In another artwork, one can see a snake charmer, Mughal soldiers on horses who are fighting and an elephant with a lady doing gymnastics. As a society, we still enjoy women being shown as objects of entertainment. In the same painting, Gandhi is walking out which depicts that if he was alive today, he wouldn’t be happy with the situation. Though he led the country to independence but the country’s youth hasn’t done anything worthy with it.

Biswajit Das is an artist who displays his internal emotions on the canvas. In today’s times, he feels that we see an incident occuring right in front of our eyes but we do not say or do anything. The political parties try to find associations with religion, promote casteism and religion for elections. “As human beings, I see my fellow mates as a blank slate without any religion and if we do not stop labelling others, we will never progress as a society.” The exhibition is named Indian Circus and the artist has worked on this particular series for the past seven years.

Das hasn’t done any shows or exhibitions, before this, as he wanted to focus on his work. As a painter, he feels that everything that is happening around us is a circus. “Though I display the circumstances but it is for the audience to decide whether it is good or bad.”

Based on current scenario, the exhibition captures Das’ experiences, realisations and childhood memories. He has used icons and symbols to display his thoughts. The idea is to tell a story through the paintings.

India represents classical paradoxes in the way our society functions. The artist feels that if you have money, you can get anything today. “Even if you have no manners, etiquette or proper dressing sense, you are given a status quotient if you have enough money. Everyone is eager to be your friend, ask you for help and want you to solve their problems. Basically, if one has money, s/he has the power to dominate others.”

Dualities are present everywhere and the artist has tried to capture the versatile dualities that are ever-present in our society. “Since my childhood, I have seen Maa Kali and Mother Teresa who are opposite to each other and I was unable to decide who I should believe in. As children, our brains are not developed, so our mothers are our role models. My mother worshipped Kali everyday. As I grew up, I started reading about Mother Teresa and her contribution to the society. The same can be said about Gandhi and Netaji. Both had ideologies that were contradictory to each other which confuses an individual. The belief system keeps shifting and a person is unable to decide who should be believed.”

In a fractured society, Das is inspired to create art because he feels it is his responsibility as an artist to express his concerns about the changing society. “Painting is my medium to voice out my opinions, my realisations and thoughts. I can’t stand in front of everyone and give a speech that would unite people to fight a war like a politician or a leader. If I can contribute something towards the society, it will be through my paintings.”

He has decided that he will continue to do this show in various cities even though it might take him some time as he doesn’t have any tie-ups with art galleries. For this series, he has used acrylics with pastel colours like green, yellow and blue. Earlier, he worked with oil, pencils and a whole lot of different media.

He has never been one to follow rules. As a child, he was pretty clear about one thing. “If I can secure my finances, I can paint whatever I want, the way I want. Today, I work as a graphic designer to keep myself afloat and I don’t have to depend on anyone.” He has always dreamt of making his own identity with his paintings so he could create his own space in the pages of history. “My goal has never been to earn money but to create a name for myself.”

Caravan 1st April 2018

The Indian Circus

A solo exhibition by Biswajit Das, “The Indian Circus” celebrates the diversity of the Indian subcontinent. The artist reflects on the relationship between the individual and society in a shifting landscape of religious extremism and political propaganda. Using a figurative style and acrylic colour, his canvas bursts with people, animals, and mythical and historical figures. The multi-ethnic, pluralistic traditions of India are juxtaposed with scenes suggesting rising religious intolerance.

The Hindu 25th May 2018

Mirroring emotions

The canvas is not merely a coarse, unbleached piece of cloth but rather holds meaning of greater depth for an artist. It is symbolically a mirror of thought and emotionally a mirror of thought and emotion that the human mind and soul can possibly conjure. Biswajit Das a bold young artist and graphic designer from Barddhaman, West Bengal mirrored and exhibited his satirical impression of the symbolism, pluralism and dichotomies that “The Indian Circus” has to offer at All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society recently.

Biswajit took a break in order to improve and experiment his content. “As I want to be placed in the history books while possessing a unique identity, I’ve looked to switch gears and do solo exhibitions/”

Biswajit adopts a distinctive style of scattered patterns. He uses symbolism and satire to great effect to reveal the paradoxes of pluralism, societal beliefs and functions, and the conglomeration of diverse societies. “one word to best describe it would be a ‘circus’. There are so many things going on at the same time in a circus and hence, with the use primary colours, symbols and figures in a vibrantly ambient and balanced manner, I portray several pieces of iron in the fire” he explained.

Articulating about the essence of his exhibition’s theme, “The Indian Circus”, he remarked, “I paint circuses as a metaphor for the Indian society. There is minimal humanism in today’s date and time and we converge our possible beauty with derogatory labels rather than treat each other as respectable beings. Instead of respecting our cultures, we are rather poking each other through labels or religion and casteism. I am also saddened as I don’t see any parallel in our culture any more; I fail to see a sense of alignment.” His brush strokes are thus a form of his rebellion towards lingual and communal hatred, fabricated wars, conspiracies and propaganda.

He believes his mind and soul are his sole sources of inspiration and affirms it by painting everyday for the past 20 years. “I am my own inspiration. I am inspired by my actions and perceptions and with that in mind I strive to improve my content and technique with every stroke of my brush.”

Hindustan Times 19th April 2018

An artistic depiction of our country’s ‘real’ socio-political scene

Incidents are not taken seriously unless they are politically coloured or have a religious factor associated with them,” says Biswajit Das, an artist based in Delhi. His paintings, as part of the exhibition titled The Indian Circus, highlight the political and social scenario in India, and are on display in the city.

“I don’t have any opinion. I notice things around me and my paintings are purely based on realism,” says Das, who does acrylic on canvas. “One of my works, the Only Constant, has scenes fromm the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It showcases the unchanged situation of women in India. “The artist illustrates his point,” saying, “My wife, an educated working woman, is expected to cook when she is back at home after work. My parents expect her to cook. After all these years, we are still in the same state of mind.”

Another painting of Das, called Medieval Modern India, shows Mahatma Gandhi walking and Lord Hanuman holding a mountain. “The mountain is [the] Babri Masjid. I’d like to highlight the cause without giving [it a] political turn, “says the 32-years-old. As for exhibiting in the city, Das, who shifted to Delhi about 15 years ago from Kolkata, says it’s “special” to showcase here, as “Delhi is where I put up my first solo exhibition.”

-Ruchika Garg

The Asian Age 10th September 2014

Creating an artistic view of the Indian Circus

Through his paintings, artist Biswajit Das makes an attempt to explore observation, artistry and pragmatic thinking. His paintings help create awareness for dauntingly demanding topic such as societal reforms. His brush strokes on the canvas, try to unravel the complexities of the Indian society.

Expressing his views on the subject of his paintings, artist Biswajit Das says, “Religions are and will always be important but the very basic purpose of having religions is getting diluted. Religions were meant to help people get closer to God and to them selves, with the clear agenda of spreading love and not war. unfortunately, people to create divides often misuse he religion and these divisions are not limited to different religions but also within each religion. Since art is the most expressive way of communication, I want my paintings to spread the message of humanity being better than any religion. Though is just a small drop in the ocean, I am hopeful to make a difference to the society and see a change in the way people think.”

To achieve his dreams, Biswajit is trying to put himself and such like-minded others in front of a soul searching mirror! What we would see in that mirror is a question only we can answer for ourselves. With his style of observation, vivid color-sense, unmatched symbolism and gifted pathos, he is trying to portray the mirror with as many dualities and pluralism as possible in our society. From lingual hatred to communal riots, from ugly hopes to unspoken hatred, for, fragile peace to fabricated wars, from careful demolition too careless instigations, form loud propaganda to silent conspiracies, from darker beliefs to brighter shames - he captures the mirror image of the society.

Hindu 12th June 2009

Colours of Chaos

We all love to flock to a circus as spectators. Taking recourse to this analogy of a major amusement form, talented young artist Biswajit Das assembles his latest series of paintings with the title The Indian Circus.

It’s true that the dramatic side of the Indian socio-political scenario is often being cynically satirized as ‘a great Indian tamasha’ by scathing critics. Naming his total collage with such a thought-provoking caption, the-year-old low-profile painter explains: “The total line-up contains a mesh of many fascinating facets to contemplate of. A cast of Interesting characters, a matrix of motifs and symbols, a melange of emotions, plus issues revolving around politics, society and religion have spontaneously strayed into my artistic vision.”

Thus upholding the chaos and clatter of life, Das’ paintings satirize the contemporary world and its prevalent occurrences with a dash of good humour. Launching a commentary on matters related to the integral spheres of society and the nation at large, the artist takes his creative liberties to take jibes at what is happening all around.

Effusive in expression with a bold approach towards his art, Das however cautiously leaves it to his audience to react and analyse his paintings. “All my works are message-driven and freeze-frame today’s times,” he quickly attests to avoid any room for ambiguity.

wishing to amass a bulk of 150-200 paintings on the same series in the coming two years, Das announces to exhibit his collection at Mumbai’s prestigious Nehru Art Centre from June 8-15 in 2015. Talks are also on to showcase his array both in Bangaloreas well as in the Capital, Delhi. Self-taught in the absence of even a single artist at home, Das says that “the part of the world which I have grown up in, has always been culturally very rich, where people appreciate different art form like paintings, sculptures, performing arts, et al.” Having been attached to the profession of a graphic designer in the past, Das by his own confession never really got detached from his creative leanings. Having always idolised the late maverick painter M F Husain, Das notes that “the genius creator’s rags-to-riches life story could be an ideal source of inspiration for many struggler trying to make both ends meet.”

Born and brought up in Burdwan district of West Bengal, Das has been residing in Faridabad for over a decade now. “I had over a decade now. “I had once won a scholarship from the Indian government’s cultural wing on puppetry and then I had to travel to Delhi. I found an instant heart-to-heart connect with the place and immediately decide to settle down somewhere in the outskirts to nurture my intrinsic passion in the domain of art and crafts. 12 years hence, I feel absolutely content with the path I’ve chosen,” he humbly confides.

The Statesman 6th September 2014

A Question of Culture

The above said, does every artist necessarily need to fit into a scheme where his/her works need carry a message, particularly in terms of societal reforms? Biswajit Das, a Kolkata-born, Delhi-based self-taught artist showcases an array of paintings with a unique style of observation that is reflected in an ongoing exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts (West gallery) called The Indian Circus. He feels that Indian society has, for centuries, been the cradle of diversity, pluralistic tolerance, creative canvases and a multi-ethnic richness. Languages, beliefs, ideals, practices and religions have found shelter in Indian society for ages and such diversity has even been nurtured and encouraged. Proof of this comes from the sculptures of the West to the handicrafts of the East, from monuments of the North to the folklore of the South.

With his exclusive and path breaking style, a vivid sense of colour, unmatched symbolism and a gifted pathos, he tries to represent the diversity in as many dualities and pluralisms as possible. From lingo problems to communal riots, from abstract hopes to unspoken hatred, from frail peace to fabricated wars, from careful demolition to careless instigations, form loud propaganda to silent conspiracies, from darker beliefs to brighter shames - the dualities have captured intensely and empathetically in 35 paintings done over three years, of which only 22 are on display.

If you visit his show, you will see what it is like to compare the past with present of Indian society. All his paintings are untitled as he collectively calls it “The Indian Circus” for “I don’t think I can express all my thoughts in one picture and thus create a series - that’s my style” Though he uses acrylic, he has kept his work on a folk-art theme with multiple colours, yet all have a subtle effect. His use of mythological characters symbolises hope and there’s one paintings where Hanuman carries the Babri Masjid in his hands and in another there’s there’s Superman with a symbol of the presiding government on his chest. He says, “We all know Superman is the fictitious character who saves the world and restores hope and peace so that you never give up hope. Similarly, every five years we elect our representative to rule the country in the ‘hope’ that we are in safe hands.”

The Hindu 12th June 2009

Horse power and woman power

A weeklong exhibition of paintings featuring artistic impressions of two painters of different hues is now on at the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) gallery on Rafi Marg here.

Titled “Horse Power and Cosmic Relation”, the exhibition showcases the artistic beauty of horses and the journey of women through various stages of life. While Biswajit Das focuses on horse-tales, depicting the horse as a special identity, Camellia Suman has interpreted the innocence, joy, turmoil, angst, trials and tribulations of women. Though both of them are from West Bengal, their works are as different as chalk and cheese. Shedding light on his works on wild, strong and beautiful horses, Biswajit says he has depicted their speed, unity and wild bonding, besides highlighting the pain of extreme loneliness.

Stating that he has tried to highlight the anguish of the labour class through the horses on canvas, Biswajit says. “Through their blood, sweat and tears the labour class builds imposing malls and multiplexes in our cities but the irony is that the labourers themselves live in unhygienic slum clusters. So I have depicted the tiring, sweating life of the labour class, their protest, revolt and their loneliness. Every aspect of the working class has been depicted in several forms of horses.” Human efforts to chain the horses or to place burden on them signify society’s own set of rules while dealing with the labour class.

Biswajit says the rich class does not hesitate to chuck out the working class as per their whims and fancies: “Through horses I have also depicted my loneliness, leaving my home in Bengal. The horse has always been the centre of attraction for many esteemed artists. M. F. Husain is my role model but my horses are completely different from his.”

Camellia says he derives inspiration from the statue of Kali at the Sarvamangala Kali Temple in his hometown Bardhaman. “Kali as the divine feminine is seen as an embodiment of power and energy. It is worshipped by millions over the years. The influence of this Goddess is palpable in my paintings.” Initially a shy, reticent young man, Camellia came into his own through his bold and expressive paintings.

The artist has highlighted the inner feelings of women’s mind. The pain and joy of the artist’s understanding of the female heart is intensely evident in the riot of colours on his canvas.

The exhibition, which began on June 8, continues till this Sunday. Madhur Tankha, New Delhi

The Pioneer 11th June 2009

Expressions from mind and hearts

Their colours spell struggle, their strokes spell pain and these things together create two artists’ own journey on the canvas. Artists Biswasjit Das and Camillea Suman’s early years in Bengal were full of frustration and struggle which reflects in their first painting exhibition titled Horsepower & Cosmic Relation at All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society (AIFACS).

While Das reflects his struggle by painting horses, Suman does it through portraying woman. Das has been largely influenced by great artists like KG Subramaniam and MF Husain and has re-lived their ideas in his 35 paintings based on horses. He tells these artists had represented a series of works based on horses amongst their first creations.

Das says, “From the very beginning I somehow knew that my first exhibition would be based on horses.” As John F Kennedy had rightly said, “Men may die, nations may rise or fall, but an idea lives on.”

Das’s paintings depict the pain of working class including the struggle and frustration that comes with success. He chose horse to express his inner-self. He explains, “The front part of the horse represents the male masculine strength and elegance. Whereas the back part represents feminine beauty which makes it possible for it to carry almost every emotion.”

There is noticeable polarity and depth in his paintings amongst which some depict an eruption of aggression, pain and struggle whereas some look sweetly dipped in the colour of love.

A painting titled Horse Power 028 portrays two horses emerging out of a body moving in opposite directions. It depicts the struggle between the mind and heart belonging to the same body.

“While the mind wants to rationalise and decide the heart goes with internal happiness rather than the worldly pleasures,” elaborates Das, who is the chief designer at IIPM. He is at present working on a series of paintings on Buddha The childhood and early youth of both the artists has been spent in the lap of their motherland — West Bengal after which they shifted to Delhi some 4 years back.

Suman in his works depicting cosmic relations and has captured the social realities associated with womanhood Looking at his work, one wonders — where does the understanding of feminine nature through a male brush comes from? Be it the wardrobe malfunction or today’s Draupadi. The beauty and serenity of the female form and the lustrous eyes gazing in a ravishing intent comes alive. The painting titled I MAN series portrays a lonely women getting exploited and there is no Lord Krishna to rescue her this time. The painting explains how modern woman suffers.

“On one hand we talk of women empowerment and rights but on the other the truth is that there are countless traumas an Indian woman,” she says. The exhibition continues till June 14

Mid Day 19th June 2009

Feminine ‘n’ equine

Woman weds horse at a quaint art show in town.

Last year, director John Blanchard decided to call an episode in his TV series Unhitched by the name ‘Woman Marries Horse’. Back here at home, the chapter just got repeated, only, this time, on canvas. Fluid, fantasy-ful female forms wed wild equine ecstasy in Biswajit Das and Camellia Suman’s Horse Power & Cosmic Relations, an art show that kicked off in town yesterday. “We used to practice together, and when we moved to Delhi, we decided that we would showcase our works together. Our subjects are different, and we don’t come in each others’ way,” said Biswajit.

Horse Power Das hails from rural Bengal, the birth place of a generation of romantics, where each season brings with itself different hues and moods. His new series, jumps out from the frames to hold the audience in awe. “I have been fascinated with horses since the beginning; it’s been seven years now. This exhibition does not focus only on horse-tales; I have tried to express different subjects and emotions,” said the creator. But this artist has not limited his horses under the shackles of lasso. “Some paintings depict their speed; some establish their unity and wild bonding, while the others highlight the pain of their extreme loneliness,” the painter added. His paintings tell stories that are beyond the mere romance and beauty of nature. They capture history, and the environment in all its splendid glory. A fan of MF Hussain, the 26-year-old palette player revealed, “I have been watching works of Hussain very closely, and I am very fond of them.”

Cosmic Relations Barddhaman, an ancient city in the state of West Bengal, is famous for its Sarvamangala Kali Temple, where Kali stands supreme. The influence of the Divine Feminine is omnipresent in the paintings of Camellia Suman. “Since my childhood, I used to play with my sister and in the course, I tried to understand the female heart. Through a riot of colours on canvas, I have tried to reflect the journey of a woman through the various stages of life and relationships,” said the 30-year-old artist. He interprets and brings forth on canvas the innocence, joy, turmoils, angst, trials, tribulations and passion of the feminine soul, with his own inimitable style. The artist’s understanding of the female heart, evidently from personal experience, is intensely evident in his paintings. “My mother-in-law and other women in my life have been my inspiration for this exhibition. And I expect that through my paintings, I want to bring a change to the outlook of the society,” the easel expert hopes.