Asish Kumar Das
I myself a professional artist and indulge myself deep into art practice for last several years. I have done many shows in India and abroad. I have got chance to participate few major international shows also. At the same time I do teach in art and design subject for my bread and butter. My strength is in Oil on canvas, Acrylic paint and water color painting. Though I have completed Masters in printmaking (2000) but at present I do painting only because of time constrain and material availability. Images of my paintings are representational and metaphoric. Mostly My painting represents my surrounding and cultural and political history. Since 2009 I am working on historical figure, Like M.K. Gandhi, interrogating his relevance in our lives in India, particularly the ‘Gandhi brand’ that is celebrated in the urban sphere. Gandhi appears on coins, paper money, school text-books, government offices, public statues, popular culture, literature, cinema and art, his skeletal anatomy in Indian cotton a symbol of anti-colonialism, nationalist politics and independence. His philosophy of non-violence and passive resistance has inspired similar struggles for independence in various parts of the world; his remembrance as ‘the father of the nation’ is an integral part of our rituals of Independence Day. But my question is different, aren’t we dealing with a caricaturisation of the man and his philosophy? Given the tumultuous history of post-colonial India, its civil revolts and uneven development where villages live in abject poverty while urban cities shine on the surface, Gandhi’s relevance seems to lie in his irrelevance in the public imagination. I have recreates the images of Gandhi found in popular culture, painting him on coins, Bread (roti), walking with yakshi figures, which we can find in ancient Maurya period sculpture or imprisoned within vertical steel grids that symbolize his place in urban life. My interest is to revel the truth of my surrounding, my knowledge of the world and my liking and dis-liking in my painting. Thus I try to get answer through my visual language. In this process I do proper investigation or study from our cultural and social history. I believe art is the another way to pursue the knowledge. Technicalities plays major roll in my painting. Mostly I use big canvas for Oil and Acrylic painting. The bigger canvas makes me more physical involvement and I get pleasure to be part of the subject emotionally. Water color painting with its wash technique always gives the mystic look and I enjoy it very much.
COLLECTIONSR.P.G. Enterprises, Reliance Industries, Unichem India, Pharmacaps Laboratories, Morarjee Mills, Lakhanpal Industries, Kanodia Industries, Gautam Singhania (Raymonds), Nicholas Piramal, V.I.P. Industries, Yes Bank, Lemuir Group, Ind Asia Fund Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Secunderabad Army Museum, Arvind Mills, Apcotex Ltd., Personal Collections of Hafeez Countractor, Feroze Khan, Parmeshwar Godrej, Amol Palekar, Sudhir Ahuja, Union Aviation Minister (Prafful Patel), Embassy of Netherlands (Mumbai), Bakula Kulkarni (Canada) and many other private collections in India & abroad.
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