This time for me its a new experience when I had a session with a very talented, promising and down to earth
artist of Fine arts Sarbani Bhattacharya. She belongs from Durgapur, The steel city of Bengal and presently she crossed the boundary and now a resident in Singapore. She is all set to make the world experience the power of a painter’s brush with her amazing and awesome presentation on the canvas.
1)Well Sarbani at the very first chance I will insist you to share something about you and how you thought of joining this art industry?
Actually the ‘how’ and ‘why’ part both are interesting. Art was my passion from my conscious childhood, though never thought of making it my profession, that was because of my family’s conservative belief I guess. Everyday I used to draw n paint at every possible free time, I knew ‘painting’ a forever friend was there for me, but I didn’t have any other demand from painting till I entered into my college life to pursue a degree, B.Sc in Maths. I found myself in an awfully awkward situation then. Mathematics, the subject I used to score high, became painful day by day and an irresistible urge to express myself only in pictorial forms started to develop honestly from that time onwards.
Persuading my family was a challenge, though I started looking for courses in Art college along with my B.sc studies. I had been rejected twice to take admission in the Art-College under Rabindrabharati University, as I was pursuing a B.sc in another well-respected college.
It was Partha Pratim Deb, the then principal of the Rabindra Bharati University, who finally succeeded in convincing my parents about the serious significance of a formal art education and ultimately I got admission to a 5 years course of Bachelor of Visual arts and since then my footsteps are into the Art world.
2) Who discovered your creativity first?
Honestly creativity was all around in my family, my talent in art was well-known in my family and neighborhood…it was my surrounding’s encouragement and my childhood art teacher Sukhomoy Banerjee’s guidance ignited my passion more, but I should tell it is the discovery of ‘time’ to choose this creativity as a profession in my case.
3) Are you inspired by any specific painters or artist?
Yes, I am inspired by many painters and sculptors. Apart from Bengal school of art I love the works of Van Gough, Paul Klee, Klimt, Brancusi, Hokusai, Rabindranath, Ganesh Pyne, A.Ramachandran etc.
4) Which Genre of painting attracts you most?
Impressionism is still my favourite along with I like contemporary semi-abstract.
5) When you decided to take your passion for art as a profession being an art instructor?
It was the time when I became a mom, I needed more time at home to look after my child, I was the only caregiver so working outside with painting deadlines became little challenging during that phase, so gradually I embraced the art instructor’s role, and now for my students I am their inspiration 🙂
6) Life is not so easy for artist and that too in painting profession so how you experienced up and down in your career?
Before taking an admission to any art college this is a patent question for the new students, that how one is going to handle that upheaval. Definitely there is up and down, but always I have loved that challenge and never experienced any ‘down’ inside me…poetically it is like- “This frail vessel you empty again and again and fill it ever with fresh life” (“Amare tumi ashesh korechho….phuraye phele aabar bhorechho”-Rabindranath).
7) Any WOW moments which you want to share with my readers?
There are a lot of small n big WOW moments…..all are precious….but till date one WOW from the viewers still satisfies me the most.
My first community art project with ‘My-Strok’ in 2009 was the WOW one.
That was one of the projects of Issu.E.Rasers, a non-profit org. My-Strok’s objective was to create community art as a platform to bring focus on a social/environmental issue and to raise resources for a cause related to it.
The event was on Responsible Tourism Networking at Suntec in Singapore. More than 250 participants drew some strokes or the other on a large canvas of 3/4 ft, which I was supposed to give a final form on top of the doodling in an overnight time, the work was supposed to be auctioned to raise funds for Himanaapan foundation in Thailand for forestation.
When I got the canvas 263 people had evolved a piece of kinetic art with their creative strokes in black and gold. There were stars, spirals, hearts, cartoons, smiley faces, trees, flowers, birds, boats, cycle, tractor, airplane, arrows, words…. My challenge was to find and mould the deep meaning in all these strokes.
I selected the monochrome colour palette to show the synergetic bond not only between colours but also among the 263 hands involved in creating this piece. My choice of a translucent paint technique was to enhance these individual and collective strokes. The amalgamation was a piece of art – a heart-shaped woman’s face evolving from a tree. To me, woman the fertility symbol grows and spreads love like a tree.
When I unveiled the painting there was a sheer cheer among the viewers, all were amazed and they came running to congratulate me in near trance…..that particular moment was overwhelmingly satisfying and inspiring….which I can commemorate as my ‘WOW’ moment till date.
To enjoy the detailed story you can go to the following link-
8) In which regions you conducted your exhibitions?
I have exhibited in different galleries and several International Art fairs in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong-Kong and India.
9) What are your plans 5 years down the line?
Next five years will be very crucial time for me, overcoming the challenge of understanding the art world and developing my style more effectively, will be the primary focus. Definitely I will send my paintings to more countries. I have plan to give sculptural form of my paintings too. I have plan of joining some Artist residency program soon. As an Art Educator I want to create more awareness on art-as a representational media.
10) Please share your recognitions and achievements in your journey of passion?
I got scholarship from Rabindrabharati University for the final two years of my Visual Arts’ graduation course. I won Gnani arts award for a Mother and Child painting in Singapore.
Malaysia Art Guide published my painting among several entries.
Singapore Art Guide published my interview. Bengali Association of Singapore published my painting as a cover page for their annual magazine…..I have conducted numerous workshops with adults and kids including ‘Painting Music’ for Singapore National Library Board, which gained huge popularity….still I think the best I am yet to achieve 🙂
11) What else you love to do besides painting?
Dance, Music, Theatre , Photography, Gardening these are kind of parallel passion…along with time Community service as a passion is growing graciously in me.
12) Are you planning to do something unique with your creative art for India and the kids of India?
Yes, off course. Already I have signed up for an art exhibition on March, 2014, with Protsahan team to help underprivileged girl children and women in India. We truly hope for the success of this exhibition and strongly believe to help more in future too.
Flutters n Rhythms exhibition at Sutra, KL, 2013.With her painting lovers, her artists friends from Singapore, Ramli Ibrahim, founder of Sutra Foundation and a cultural icon of Malaysia and H.E. Mr Ong Keng Yong, High Commissioner of The Republic of Singapore to Malaysia.
13) What makes you different from other painters(artists)?
To answer that, is an art critique’s job I guess….in this case I will declare I am not only an Artist, but an Art awakener.
14) Define Sarbani the artist in one line.
Ha ha this is like commercial branding…..hmmm if I have to define my artistic instinct then I will say my favourite quote of Emile Zola“I am an artist… I am here to live out loud.” 🙂
15) Who are your mentors for daily inspiration?
With few of my mentors of daily inspiration.
From left-Anurardha Koirala: Anuradha Koirala is a social activist and the founder and director of Maiti Nepal – a non-profit organization in Nepal, dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking. (Personally I participated in a show called Redress to raise money for the victims)
Middle; Birju Maharaj-Pandit Birju Maharaj , the leading exponent of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. ( I have learned Kathak for 9 years and obsessed with rhythm)
Right: Partha Pratim Deb : The ex-dean of Rabindra bharati University’s visual art dpt and senior Indian contemporary artist.
Cosmic cycle’-a painting, which changed her view to see the world
Sarbani’s statement :
“The mystic and cosmological function of Myth always inspire me-it is experiencing the awe of the Universe then converting natural elements into cosmic elements and vice-versa.
This painting shows the quest of the essence of our existence in a cosmic womb regardless religion and race. The journey of the Lotus depicted here stands as a metaphor of Human birth cycle.
The energy of life blooming into a lotus through the union-offering itself back to the Cosmos to contemplate Eternal…..”
She Further added:
I have worked on the cosmological function of Myth…the birth of Universe and our existence in the world, where do we come from and where we are going to….
Different religious concepts on that very topic I tried to read, like in Rigveda about Hiranyagarva or Golden Womb, the Monism concept in Sufism ; Advaita Vedanta ; and Zen(all is one and all is different), the Ex-nihilo concept of Christianity…..after reading all the concepts my conclusion was very simple-
We come to this World to learn( through suffering also we learn) and to offer ourselves to God…then pictorially I worked in a secular spiritual manner, keeping Lotus as a symbol of our journey. Lotus :- coming from mud,releasing itself to air-is a symbol of purity,wisdom and an individual’s progress from the lowest to the highest state of consciousness.
Read more about her paintings: Singapore Art Gallery