Be sensitive and respectful towards nature, says artist Shovin Bhattacharjee

 Be sensitive and respectful towards nature, says artist Shovin Bhattacharjee

An artwork on display at Dhoomimal Art Gallery

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

Hailing from the ‘Abode of Clouds’, Shillong, artist Shovin Bhattacharjee, 45, had a bit of a ‘culture shock’ when he moved to New Delhi in the early 2003. “I had never seen so many towering buildings as also the crowd. I felt overwhelmed – attracted as also repelled by it at the same time,” says the artist. Not surprising then that the metaphor of the skyscraper, as seen from a birds-eye-view, became a recurring motif in his artwork – and his artistic lexicon over time.

Shovin Bhattacharjee with his artwork

Bhattacharjee did his BFA and MFA in Painting from Fine Arts Department, Assam University and later moved to Delhi as it “offers international exposure”. An artist who expresses himself across different mediums and metaphors, he began creating digital work – popular today as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) – some two decades back.
Currently having an exhibition Between Body and Imagination at Dhoomimal Art Gallery in New Delhi, the artist tells Life & More that it is his elder brother who inspired him to become an artist. Excerpts:

Tell us about your ongoing show Between Body and Imagination.
This show is very different from my earlier exhibitions as in it doesn’t have a single painting. The “paintings” you see are pieces of digital art, a new media art. Most of it is sculptures and installations. The show has 48 artworks. The works here are 4 to 5 years of my labour compilation. All of my art is based on design. My sculptures are a replica of what I feel. The stainless-steel piece is the spherical house, the spike is skyscraper building…
Each of my works shows my inner quest. Inner quest is a very important part of my work – quest of self, nature, existence, and the world. Through these works, I am trying to give a message to the world to be sensitive, sensitise our limits, not be greedy, be respectful towards nature and heritage, and provide a space to the habitat.
Nature inspires me. My whole concept is that – we humans are occupying nature and deploying art. Someday the world will be fully covered by the sky scallops. I want to tell people to be limited to their own needs and be respectful towards nature. Sustainability is at the core of human existence.

What made you move to Delhi from Shillong?
I was born in Shillong, in the lap of Nature. When I was living in Shillong I never realised that it’s such a beautiful place. I moved to Delhi after completing my professional studies as I got the Lalit Kala Academy scholarship, and it provided me with space in the studio in New Delhi.
Delhi is an ideal place for an artist as this city provides global recognition. Besides, with so many galleries and museum, a lot of art activities happen here – it is the Art Capital of India.

Any favorite medium?
None. I am a multidisciplinary artist, and love expressing in all kinds of mediums. I first visualise my art in my mind and then decide which medium is ideal for that composition or ideal for my thinking. Each medium has its own pros and cons, its own limitations and liberties.
But, I love doing Installations. That’s because installations are always challenged by space. The site-specific installations are very important because of their sheer scale and size.

What’s your opinion on NFTs?
I began working in digital format with my camera and computer in 2002. There was this misrepresentation that digital artwork is just about cut and paste, but I think that is changing now. People are beginning to understand that it takes as much creativity to create a digital image, whether it is from a photograph or works that you have made in 3D in photoshop. The fact that the PhD students are studying about the digital world created by artists and popularised by NFTs shows that people have finally begun taking it seriously.
NFT is a new talking point for every individual. Everyone, be an artist or not, is excited about it. Even illustrators and graphic artists are making NFTs these days. I feel contemporary art or normal art is unable to connect with common man while NFT connects the whole world.

The show is on till March 10, 11am – 7pm



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