Art News & Views

Hard Talk

Adip Dutta in conversation with Jayshree Chakraborty

A : Is process important to you?

J : Yes it is. A keen sense of observation is primary to my process. We only observe things that excite us. In my case it is nature.

A : True. But why do you only refer to nature. We all know that you have also used visuals of man-made sites like the bird's eye view of cities, architectural plans and architectonic structures. In fact, once an art critic while writing on you observed a feeling of an essentially urban chaos in your works.

J : (Silent for some time) Yes…. . Yet I would say the natural elements are primary. I have been visiting places, shifting from Tripura to Bolpur to Baroda to Dhanbad to Kolkata to France before I finally settled in Kolkata. So naturally places and cities came as an idea, but they always appeared along side natural formats, references. I have used motifs of flowers, leaves, aquatic lives and recently insects. I have always enjoyed looking at natural surface like textures on natural ground. These things remind me of my experiences in Tripura and else where.

A : Jayashreedi, please hold on for a moment. You say these natural motifs remind you of places, particularly Tripura where you have spent your childhood.

J : Yes, I mentioned Tripura because I remember the place for its natural vegetation, topography.

A : Exactly. While you were in Tripura, you naturally imbibed the natural ambience of the place. Tripura was your childhood home town. Since nature was in abundance there, you grew up with the flora and fauna of the place, the land and its creatures. Even at that point of time you picked up those motifs, because they were easily available references.

J : Drawings of Botanical and zoological specimens from books of natural science was one of my favourite occupations. It was always a matter of surprise and excitement to find the drawings of the botanical specimens that matched my first-hand experience of these natural objects. It was like rediscovering the natural objects that I come across everyday in my surroundings.

A : That is exactly where I wanted to come to. Actually you re-live those moments of the past that have been spent in Agartala, Tripura and elsewhere by bringing the natural elements of those places in your works. Do you tend to disagree with me on this regard? Do you deny the fact that every time you deal with the natural elements, actually you depict the places you have been to and shifted your home to one after the other.

J : I am glad that you have made this observation. It so happens that whenever I come across any drawing of a botanical specimen of the north-eastern part of the country I am reminded of the natural vegetation of Agartala, where I have physically seen it. Like wise cartographic drawings of places I have visited instantly transport me to the place I have been in the past. The act is almost like looking at the past from the standpoint of the present.

A : I think now we have been able to track down the process that brings in the natural factor in your work.



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