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Samit Das

Delhi based artist Samit Das trained as a painter at Kalabhavan, Santiniketan.

His artistic practice moves beyond the painterly to include collage, textured material like wood and photographic images of the city.

His fascination with history began while archiving the lives of the Tagore family and developing his findings into an art project that displayed the Tagore family tree alongside various artefacts collected from their vast archive of materials and memorabilia.

Mumbai, has been Samit Das' muse since 2003, when he began exploring how the.

histories of cities live with their contemporary realities. The prompt was a commission for a show on Mumbai by a private gallery. "Wandering through the city, I observed how people create their own 'breathing spaces' within the built habitat and began working on photographs and sketches that recorded these. Each city organises itself differently so the work I did was truly specific to the character of Mumbai", said Das.

He went on to create two public art projects in Mumbai - one for the annual Kala Ghoda festival and the other for the New Bengal Hotel in Crawford Market. In each of these, Das chose to deal with the socio-economic structures, culture, and history particular to the site.

In subsequent years Das combined his fascination for archives with his keen interest in the city's built form and the socio-economic complexities of urban life. Marked by a raw intensity, his mixed media works are built upon with layers of images, maps and grids, the compositions reflecting the organic expansion of the city, and the order defining haphazard growth of built form, precinct by precinct.

"The layers come together intuitively, evoking the ... disjointed and chaotic nature of the city and the order that exists within it. That is how I believe most Indian cities operate. There is chaos and at the same time, some sense of order. We manage in our own way, it is the 'things will get done' attitude."

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