A New Avatar
Life as an artist is not a struggle any more, Debashish Sarkar tells KAMLU RUPANI.
Everything in this mortal world is in a constant state of flux, says Indian artist, Debashish Sarkar, with an intensity that belies his 29 years.
It is this quality of transience that infuses Sarkar’s works with a certain buoyancy, as if they are suspended in mid-air. His paintings move you – I won’t go as far as to say spiritually – but there is a certain other-worldly feeling of slipping, almost backwards, into dream worlds. And before you know it, you have begun to see things with Sarkar’s childlike, playful perception.
Flight of Fantasy was thus an apt term, for Sarkar’s debut exhibition in Singapore’s Artmosaic gallery at the Artrium in MICA building recently. In fact, it is also the artist’s debut solo foray outside his native place of Calcutta.
It is an exciting mosaic of works. You expect certain predictability from a young artist from a city where as the painter himself admits, competition is rather fierce. Instead, you find a chic collection of buyable, from-the-heart-and mind collection of Indian art.
Sarkar is back at Artmosaic along with seven other artists in its From Sea To Sky exhibition, on till June 5.
I wonder if the growing commercial viability of Indian art has given an impetus to experimentation. Sarkar, a postgraduate from the Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta, says, “It’s not that one focuses on this aspect – I forget everything when I’m immersed in my paintings but yes, it’s definitely a good time for artists today.”
Sarkar has dabbled in art for many years now, drawing inspiration for nature and wildlife while out on trekking expeditions with his friends. As a result he is able to draw interesting images from the primeval forest, which he juxtaposes with his own slant on ordinary urban lives.
He has held several exhibitions all over India including his latest in the Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta, and in India Habitat Centre in New Delhi (2007) and in RAD, Birla Academy of Art and Culture (2006).
He concedes that the life of an upcoming artist has improved because of the increased status of Indian artists internationally. “Art is fetching a better price – this can only mean less struggle and better prospects for everyone.”
Certainly, the poetic image of the poor, languishing artist is becoming redundant. Art appears to be taking on a new avatar and more and more art dealers are bringing in the promising novice from his hearth into the international arena. With the work of stalwarts fetching astronomical prices, a certain optimism has also crept down the ladder.
Artmosaic director Caroline Banerjee says, “It’s not uncommon these days to expect paintings of relatively new artists even to sell for an average of S$3,000-4,000.”
With the growing enthusiasm for art as investment, could a certain self-consciousness or hype enter as an aftermath of over-marketing zeal?
Banerjee adds, “There is certainly a great deal of interest being shown but it is difficult to tell when the value of an artists’ work may go up – so many factors contribute to this. I simply rely on my instincts when bringing in the works of upcoming artists here.”
More - Read the eMagazine
You've been reading an edited version of an article from the India Se magazine. To read the latest edition of the complete magazine - click here. (The eMagazine opens in a new window and runs on Flash 8)
or Subscribe to the Print Edition of India Se Magazine
You can subscribe to the Print Edition of the magazine for just S$48 for the whole year (save 20% off the retail price if you order online)..