My work is deeply influenced by my two converging life-worlds. I was born in one of Bengal’s erstwhileland-owning zamindar families, a class that, in the post-Independence period,witnessed the steady degeneration of not only its socio-economic standing but also its exalted position as the patron of arts and culture. Despite this slow material elision wrought through time and social change, the nostalgia and memory of its aristocratic past survived in my family. During my childhood, these memories proved to be more resilient than the crumbling roofs, the papering walls, and the cracks in the pillars that served as both the material as well as the symbolic reminder of the changing conditions.
Growing up, this legacy of an aristocratic and conservative past with its rituals and preoccupations came into constant conflict with my own experiences of ‘modernity’, in a city and country playing catch-game with evolving ideas of urbanism, culture, and ‘modernisation’. Working in the advertising industry often reified the fast-paced consumer culture, with regimented working hours and bracketed leisure times, of which the industry and my profession itself is a product. In trying to negotiate these two terrains of tradition and modernity, I realised that I myself became a space where, often-times, these two opposing ways of thinking, seeing, and being came to co-exist, though one always threatened to encroach upon and engulf the other. Thus, my art became an extension through which I explored my own conflicts and negotiations about how these two spaces converge in complex yet invisible ways. My work attempts to foreground and starkly render such interactions visible, which imperceptibly affect the structure of our present and future social reality through their constant contact, conflict, and influence.
This interaction and conflict is present both in the process I employ in my work as well as in the representation of it. Through my process I bring my two worlds together through the use of a photographic montage on archival paper that helps in teasing out the stark differences between the representation of space and form juxtaposed together. Moreover, the positioning of the images within inner spaces of a typical zamindar mansion depicts the incoming influence of the times that are increasingly transmuting a class who were once the patrons and audiences of exquisite exhibitions of the various art forms into ones who assume a quirky, fetishised and exhibited novelty for a new ‘modernity’.