Prithwish Daw

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Artist Statement

Damp walls, shared spaces, everyday quarrels, dingy allies are all part of north Kolkata clichés. North Kolkata, where I have been living for a little more than two decades, is my muse. Kolkata has been a city of interest to many artists. The motif of the trams, the river Ganga, Bengali language, appearing in the form of scripts, have been presented as potent visual contraptions. My point of reference has been the walls of Kolkata. I do not claim that there is something absolutely authentic about the city walls, but in my opinion, the walls are reflective of the culture of the city and its shifting character. The city always reminds me of the possibilities of multiple conversations. I try to visualize these conversations and give it a form in my artwork. There are two series that I have been developing for some time now - both of these are extremely personal and this is where the city plays a pivotal role. I have tried to explore the essence of the city beyond the quintessential yellow taxis and strikes that have become standard representative elements.


I have noticed that the public walls in Kolkata are a perfect balance of contemporary thoughts and popular culture. These walls are constantly getting remade; either in forms of new graffiti, replacing the old ones or new posters replacing the old ones. There is something about these walls, like the old banyan trees that stand tall, and silently bear witness to a time gone by. Though I have only explored the walls in paintings, I would like to interpret it in the form of an installation or even performance where I plan to engage with the people of Kolkata and delve into how they deal with such banal structures.


The other series is about my immediate surroundings-my family. The complexities of a family have intrigued me since childhood. Is it ‘blood relations’ or is it another economic setup? Trying to understand this through the genres of painting and giving it a contemporary twist. I have illustrated this through miniatures, prints and drawings. I‘ve directly transferred the digital prints in this image-making process: creating a wall-like surface with cement and sand, marble dust along with acrylic and oil color, amongst various other mediums.



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