A peep into Sohini Banerjee’s oeuvre and her inspiration
Sohini has been painting since childhood.Inspired by the everyday unfolding of the seasons,impressions of city life and glimpse of the villages around Kolkata,she first learnt painting for a year in Birla Academy of Art and Culture and later moved to China and Europe for her studies where she was inspired by the works of the European Masters.
Guided by Sulekha Chaki in Kolkata and later by Bablu Basak in Delhi,she never gave up her passionate love for art and carried on creating marvellous art pieces while experimenting with new styles,themes and techniques of painting.
Sohini animates distinct objects through a synchromatic vision in order to overcome human estrangement from the theme ‘ nature’.
She evokes the vast immensity of nature and captures its’ intoxicating perfumes by the closed,claustrophobic forms,convergent lines and broken cubes of storied architecture,leading to temples and monasteries.The people thronging the shopping arcades in old Delhi or tents on a river bank in Kolkata are reduced to an impersonal plastic mass.More real are the peacock perched on the eaves of a Rajasthan house; the boy plying the trolley towards a luminous towering gate;the cartoon of a boy posted on the wall;the handprint beside a closed door;the plant growing beside the wickergate in a mausoleum;the soul looking at its’ tombstone from inside and outside.They enhance the profound silence and loneliness of the spaces carved out of nature.The broken scarecrow and the birds pecking at rice grains,spilling out of sacks,provide a mocking commentary on the waste economy,eked out by niggardly human culture from the bounty of nature.The nebulous ,leaping feline shape knocking things over on the tea table to quench its’ thirst,completes the sarcastic commentary on the pathos and bathos of the human project for exclusive consumption.Sohini’s paintings show how the creativity of the artist is sparked,the need to transfer onto canvas the deepest workings of her imagination.
Asked about how she comes up with her own different versions of the picture of nature in her mind,the artist shares her views on it.” First,I visualise a picture of the scenery in my mind from a particular photograph I have seen earlier of nature.Then,I meditate to search for its’ meaningful depth,and it is at that moment when I pick up the pencil to draw the “imagined” version,after which I start using few colours on the canvas.In order to expose the feelings which I cannot say sometimes,I simply meditate and collect fragments of my pictured imagination out of my memories so that I can extract its’ true essence and finally draw every piece of it on canvas.”
About her motivation as an artist,she explains:” The core theme of my paintings is always nature both against rural and urban background.I have observed nature closely while evolving a sculpturesque,tactile and three-dimensional style. Sohini’s paintings cover a wide gamut of subjects from languid landscapes to pressing social issues such as hunger.She tries to use her own imagination as much as possible.But,yes, sometimes a good photograph taken by the artist herself may also become a source of inspiration for her.
Sohini also feels that artists should not be fearful of whether they should or should not do a painting.Instead of doubting themselves,they should banish all traces of doubt and just go ahead and paint,irrespective of whether it is acceptable or not.The main thing is that artists should never garner any sort of bias for themselves,because the more they can come out of their fears,the more they can master the art of painting.
Apart from being creative or having the ability to choose the right colours,every painting requires a substantial amount of courage too.Hence, the artist must be brave in order to do a painting and be convinced in the end that the painting will come out well.
Sohini Banerjee,a contemporary artist with a passion for artistic painting,recently held her second solo exhibition at the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society in the Capital.
By Madhumanti Sen Gupta