Art News & Views



The Experiential and Aesthetic Works of Samindranath Majumdar

by Natasha Sikdar

Born in 1966, Samindranath Majumdar completed his bachelor's and post graduate in visual arts from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. Currently he is a lecturer at Indian college of Art & Draughtsmanship, Kolkata. He has participated in several solo shows, group shows and annual shows all over the country since 1989. He was awarded Ebrahim Alkaji Endowment Scholarship for research work in 2001-02. Besides, he was awarded the Annual award from Birla Academy of Art & Culture in 1995 and 2001 and also The Annual Award from AIFACS in 2000. Samindranath has previously shown his work in the 'Art of Young Bengal', a show curated by Pranabranjan Ray at Aakriti Art Gallery in July 2006.

Samindranath Majumdar's.distinct inclination for working in layers- layers of pigment and layers of experience- can perhaps be read as an attempt to make sense of the variant ways in which the cues of memory mark and unmark the evolving self, resulting in both erasure and overwriting. Memory encapsulates time, gives it specificity and therefore, a shape, thus initiating the artist's journey of reinterpretation.

For Samindranath, memory unfolds in a series of unstable visuals. Born in suburbia conveniently close to Kolkata yet distant enough to escape the culture of facelessness of the big city, Samindra grew up among greenery already threatened, and about to be overtaken by the seeking tentacles of the metropolis. Jute mills dotting the area in and around Barrackpore- both locked-out and functional- were a source of constant amazement to the curious child who threaded his way to school along lanes bypassing the colossal structures. Observing the imposing-often crumbling- architecture on a daily basis left its own indelible impression on the child's evolving imagination, only to surface many years later, in his canvases, as what may be called a certain structural crowdedness- edifices close-knit, dark and silent, curiously unpopulated. But this was only one side of the tale, a side that spoke of intimidation. The other side was Ganga, its huge expanse, the wide-open spaces, the exhilaration of being able to swim right across the river- or perhaps, the simple languor of lazing on one of the elaborate ghats, indolently watching the indistinct skyline of the opposite bank while the water swished below, fast and busy. Waterbodies in Samindra's paintings act as demarcations. His 2001 canvas Sad Songs, Long Past is full of subdued evocation of funereal desolation in the foreground, while the other bank beyond the water-strip shines with what may be called an ethereal illumination.

After he finished his graduation with honours in Botany, Samindra appeared for the entrance tests for Visual Arts at Rabindra Bharati University. But much before having started any formal course, Samindra had one of his paintings selected and exhibited at a national-level show- at the annual exhibition of Birla Academy of Art and Culture. Samindra had his first solo at Lalit Kala Galleries in Delhi in 1995. His second solo exhibition at Delhi in 2001 was well-received by viewers and critics alike, and the entire show was bought off by a Delhi gallery.

It was in 2003 that Samindra joined the Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship as a lecturer in painting. Being a faculty of the evening shift, he had the entire day free for his work. The new job introduced him to the great sense of liberation and empowerment that teaching can generate; Samindra insists that the interactive sessions with his eager students in a sense constitute a concerted, shared inquiry into the meaning of art which benefit him no less than his students. Likewise rewarding are the workshops that he attends from time to time.

Samindra's work, seen as a whole, records numerous points of arrival and of departure, both experiential and aesthetic; what he paints is what he has become, a tale of collision and/or collusion with bits of life that he has confronted.

Contemporary Monograph Series 7, Samindranath Majumdar by Anuradha Ghosh. Published by Chisel Crafts Pvt. Ltd.

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