chat British artist and educationist Angus Pryor reveals why India is an important destination for him and others to showcase their work
British artist and educationist Angus Pryor wants to develop a long-term relationship with India and the upcoming art exhibition and workshop in Delhi marks just the beginning of that engagement. “I have been all over the world but the affinity to people that I find here is unique. Indians like the idea of culture,” says Angus.
“I have been coming to India for last three years and when I visited an art college in 2011, I spoke to a lot of students. It made me think that we share a lot of similarity in the form of storytelling. My work also tells a story except that it is very layered,” explains Angus adding that it was this realisation that led him to research Mughal miniatures. “I want to translate the dialogue of history and place it in a contemporary context. My interest here is politics, history and society.”
His ongoing research is impacting his vocabulary too. Of the work that he is creating here, Angus reveals, it will have a central figure inspired by Mughal art traditions. “I noticed there was an absence of portraits of women, so I arrived at the idea of making that my central image. The images will be from my life and times in India, such as my travels in the metro.” The artist is also very aware of how the whole celebratory nature of Indian art is giving way to minimalism and western influences, in particular.
Now, how Angus is going to create the woman’s face is also quite intriguing. Referencing to neo-expressionism and Marcel Duchamp’s idea of ‘readymade’, he uses the imprint of objects such as toys, vegetables, leaves and birds. “I use inflatables too. I blow them up and push them into the work. In fact, I am going to take the impression of the face like that too.”
As an educationist — Angus is senior lecturer / director, School of Arts, Medway, University of Kent — he wants to take the engagement to the next level and set up annual workshops here, have Indian students over to the U.K. for residential PhDs and conduct tutorials.