Arpita's favourite medium is the watercolour. Her earlier work was on silk but she has gradually moved to working on paper. She devotes time to preparing the paper, layering it with hand-made rice paper to achieve a fine texture. Arpita lives and works in Kolkata, in West Bengal, and is deeply rooted in the traditions, mores, culture and social life of Bengal.
In Bengal, the Kantha tradition has seen a revival in recent years. The Kantha is a quilt. About three centuries ago in Bengal women would gather around at the end of the day and stitch together old saris to make soft quilts. The coloured borders of these hand-woven saris were unpicked and the colored threads extracted. The women used the coloured thread to decorate the Kantha. Initially the designs were purely decorative. Soon they became pictorial and narrative, the women using the Kantha as a canvas to paint what they saw around them “birds and plants and animals and people. The British soldier on his horse, the sahib going hunting, the woman travelling in a palanquin. The Kantha became a social commentary on the times. And because each woman worked on one part of the Kantha these stories appeared along the perimeter of the Kantha in a circular manner. Arpita uses the ethos of the Kantha in her work. Her paintings are most often in the round, and tell stories, being a commentary on the social and everyday life of Bengal today.