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Amitava Das
curatorial

Amitava Das is an alumnus of the Delhi College of Art. Though greatly influenced by the modern abstractionists and by kinetic sculptures in the early 1980s, he often looked to Rabindranath Tagore as an inspiration - a self taught artist who succeeded in creating a unique artistic language, away from the pressures of institutionalized learning. This is not Das' first engagement with public art projects - 25 years ago, he was involved with the design of pavilions for large international fairs.

For Das, the relationship of the artist to his materials is important, but equally is the emotive quality that painting offers. His signature use of thick impasto allows him to constantly experiment with both these elements - combining textures and colours, expressing energies through their play.

In the pre-globalized India of the 1980s, Das used collected ticket stubs and other memorabilia in small format paper- works that served as a sort of a travelogue. Prescient perhaps, as some of those early works inform his current approach to the large format work he shows here.

"I am enjoying the shift from small format paper-works to these large panels; the scale itself will impose its own language ... the small details carried over from my previous works will become apparent to the discerning", says Das. The works have been planned and structured keeping in mind their strong graphic quality with areas of pause balanced with dense graphic and collage elements.

Simulating a metropolis viewed aerially, Das has based his canvases on the changing avatars of a generic city. The colourful grids that he paints evoke the city and its labyrinth of roads, buildings and parks. The work evokes movement and it juxtaposes the tensions that are present in the city with the human need to co-exist despite these.

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