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Artist In Focus : Debanjan Roy

Debanjan Roy

In this section, we pick one artist to showcase their work and creative journey so far. Today, we look at contemporary artist Debanjan Roy. 

Re-Contextualising Gandhi

Roy’s IAF sculptural installation-‘Gandhi taking a Selfie with Cow’-embeds the powerful presence of the Mahatma that exists in the national imagination, framing popular themes and behaviours. The deliberate reframing of Gandhi in this manner, is a comment on the fashion, obsessions and quirks of the new India.

“This installation communicates the current national engagements-with technology and intolerance-bringing the ubiquitous smart phone and its promise of digital democracy into conversation with the cow,” Roy says. The satire is sharp and at once simple, and therefore effective. Debanjan’s method is effective in communicating his core idea.

In this particular installation, the mystical wish granting Kamdhenu, reminds the audience how this sacred animal is now an object of self-declared protection by Hindu activists. It must be noted that by clothing Gandhi’s body in a style and colour favoured by the current political elite, the artwork showcases a representation of Gandhi’s is far from the ‘bare-bodied ascetic’ idea.

“This makes it easier to re-imagine him today,” Roy says. The artist is constantly raising questions and he attempts at raising awareness of the common man through his art. In his project – Metamorphosis he takes everyday objects and presents them in a way to be re-looked, reassessed and understood. There is no taking anything for granted.

Shantiniketan Roots

Born in 1975, this talented Debanjan Roy completed his Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the reputed Rabindra Bharti University, Santiniketan. In 1998, subsequently he went on to complete his Master’s degree from the same institution in 2000.

Participating in a number of solo shows including those held at Gandhara Gallery, Kolkata, in 2007; and at Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata, in 2002, Debanjan’s work has been steadily gaining visibility . In the year 2000, Roy received the Best Sculpture Award from the West Bengal State Academy, an award he was honoured with the previous year from Rabindra Bharti University.

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