Childhood memories take form of sculptures

Artist Asish Kumar Das, who hails from the town of Chinsurah in West Bengal, spent his childhood living close to a colony of idol makers. It was in the home of his mentor, Nitai Pal, an idol maker who Das calls a ‘master craftsman’, that he was left in awe while looking at the majestic array of gods and goddesses for people to worship during Durga Puja and other ceremonies.

Now presenting his first solo exhibition in Delhi called Confluence, his work seems like a mixture of dream and reality as well as the male and female energies. He attributes his love for decorative motifs to the memories of his childhood in a joint family.

Confluence is an exhibition of sculptures inspired from amalgamation of Egyptian and Indian culture.

The artist is also deeply influenced by Egyptian art. This is evident in his treatment of the patina, use of muted earth colours, sensuous and the lyrical yet restrained quality of the texture designs which often include the use of gold leaf.

“Many of my sculptural form are not realistic but carry surrealistic proportions which are intentional. As I want to hint at man’s journey through life, I have highlighted the idea of dramatic shadows covering both moments of joy and sorrow in man’s life. Besides, I want to reemphasise the omnipotent force of sensuous love that dominates one’s life,” said Das

The organisers told Metrolife that another element present in all of his work is “the spirit of supreme poetic freedom”.

“Apart from a touch of surrealism seen in the magnificent sculptures on view in this show, one also finds a very interesting and complex juxtaposing of wood and metal, glass and fibre glass in some of these works such as ‘Dreamy Ecstasy’ which are beautifully integrated in a harmonious configuration,” the organisers said.

They further added, “It is clearly evident that this experience led to a subconscious love in him for decorative motifs, repeat forms and other subtle embellishments. However, all these elements of ornamentation now emerge in his work in a new, vibrantly modern idiom and these have become an integral part of his art.”

As a child, Das used to be fascinated by the wandering mendicants who wore various attires, used body paint and bhasma to resemble Shiva, Goddess Kali, Hanuman and several other gods and goddesses. These mendicants are known as bahurupis. The concept of bahurupi led him to think of role transformation in real life.

“I have drawn elements from the rich repository of nature. A sense of positive
energy and contemplative repose dominate these works. With a subtle touch of poetic lyricism, and gestures that create dramatic pauses and stances, these sculptures are passionate renderings that are arresting in their visual appeal."
The exhibition is on view till December 11 at Rabindra Bhawan, Lalit Kala Academy.  

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