In my city, Kolkata, post-colonial is not a theory, but a fact of daily life. It has left India in a crisis of identity. My generation heard and read the old stories of varied cultures, living traditions and a multitude of languages, but nowadays is separated from them to a great extent. One common denominator creating the changes our society is going through seems to be that what looks Western must be better. This creates a hybrid lifestyle in food, music, politics and religion, where the imported takes precedence over the existing. The Indian skin is no longer preferred by the Indians. FAIR & LOVELY by Unilever is one of many skin whitening creams advertising success at work and at home by virtue of acquiring white skin alone. Not only is lifestyle affected, contemporary politics borrows heavily from populist foreign models. A general idea of fear dominates our discussion everywhere, in India today it has become a daily part of life. I feel helpless towards these circumstances and want to create a position from where I feel able to act.
My way of dealing with these circumstances is reflecting through imagery, using local symbolism and iconography, composing a contemporary visual commentary accessible to any who are affected. This necessarily extents to a public context, where painting and posters are put out in the streets to make them available to those I try to speak to.
More Art by Sumantra Mukherjee
Sumantra Mukherjee is a graduate of The Government College of Art and Craft in Kolkata. His solo shows include: “Cloud 9,” (Kolkata); Titled as NORMAL (Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam); and more recently “Chiriya Chug Gayi Cake” (Society of Contemporary Artist Space, Kolkata).
Additional website: http://artdistrict13.com/artist_profile.php?artist_id=48#