আড্ডা (Adda) Project
This body of work is titled আড্ডা. আড্ডা (pronounced Aad-daa) means a conversation, often had between friends about life.
I invite the audience to take in my art poems and other works where I unpack the traumas and joys of being an “other” in this country, enduring assimilation and reconnecting with and giving space to a language that has allowed me to stay close to old friends, family and culture. I use words and images as I find the presence of both allows me to depict my experiences clearly.
I haven’t ever spoken about these experiences openly as it is uncommon to do so in my culture and community. So anyone who receives these poems, is a friend and by default is engaging in a আড্ডা with me.
I owe the inspiration for my illustrations to the visual storytelling techniques of patachitra and kalighat paintings. Patachitra is a tradition of Bengali and Orissi heritage where fabric scrolls are vividly illustrated in sequence to tell tales. These art poems follow my conflict of feeling shame to embracing and then celebrating my language, culture and heritage. Kalighat paintings are another tradition of Bengal, where daily life and incidents were depicted in vivid colors and in a distinct style. Surrounded by these paintings and their derivatives all my life, I have always been intrigued by the distinctly large and long eye shapes. This I use in my work as well, as I draw these illustrations and write these words that have occurred in my daily life.
I paint these images and words on transparent surfaces as I wish for them to float and hold the viewer's attention. The outline of the shape is rough just like my depiction of these experiences are raw. Yet I use crisp lines, something inspired by patachitra and kalighat paintings as well, to carve out the distinct memories I have of my journey with my Bengali language and heritage in this land where I am constantly an “other”.