Sisir Sahana’s recent paintings mark his return in many ways

There’s an element of intrigue and a lyrical quality in the works of artists who’ve trained at Shantiniketan. ‘I Return’, the ongoing exhibition featuring recent paintings of Sisir Sahana, is an ode to art from West Bengal that’s rich in form, content and technique. It’s been a while since art enthusiasts in the city witnessed an exhibition of Sisir Sahana’s works. The title indicates more than the physical return of the artist. “The return represents both my physical and artistic journey,” says Sisir.

Sisir trained in fine arts at Shantiniketan, before moving to Hyderabad. After spending 22 years in the city, he has now joined his alma mater as a faculty member. “With these paintings, I have returned to traditional Bengal paintings,” he explains.

The acrylic-on-canvas paintings are rich in colour, tone and texture. Sisir takes us back in time when women led a life without technical gadgets, in touch with nature and beauty. He paints his women in black, white and grey and the world they inhabit in a riot of colours. “These are women who lived 200 to 300 years ago. I tried to explore and see if the world they lived in was colourful and if it would be possible to recreate a traditional way of living in present times,” says the artist.

He takes a lyrical approach to his presentation even while voicing political and social concerns. We see a woman lost in nature with its flora and fauna, gazing at her reflection in the water. We see a woman offering flowers at the base of a wounded tree, sending out a message of hope and peace. We see a woman trying to find her own identity in her surroundings.

Most paintings have the presence of a face resembling a sculpture. “Though I began as a painter, people know me as a sculptor. By projecting this face in the background, I wanted to show an artist’s presence in the context of his work; it’s impossible for artists to detach themselves from their work,” elaborates Sisir. The exhibition will also travel to Delhi and Kolkata.

What: I Return, recent paintings by Sisir Sahana

Where: Kalakriti Art Gallery, Road no. 10, Banjara Hills

When: Till January 4; 11.30a.m. to 7 p.m.


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