Piu Sarkar : "I am fascinated with the other world…"
... AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT ARTIST PIU SARKAR EXPLORES IN HER PAINTINGS. IN THIS INTERVIEW SHE TALKS ABOUT HER WORKS, HER FUTURE PLANS AND ALSO GIVES AN ADVICE OR TWO TO THE MOTORISTS OF KOLKATA
You were present at the launch of Kolkata on Wheels. How did it feel to be part of the event?
Wonderful. It was a really nice event and one-of-its-kind in the city. The enthusiasm of the participants was infectious. I had a good time. I think such events should be organised more often.
You started your career as a model. When did you start painting?
I have been painting for the last nine years. I believe that art is life and painting is a way to self-discovery and I am fascinated by the concept of the other world, the 'universe of possibilism’, the unconscious mind. I believe that this outer world runs parallel to the world we live in and it has tremendous energy that is just waiting to be discovered. I have been influenced and inspired by the works of Plato, Dali, Freud, Carl Jung's theory of 'collective unconscious' and Lacan and I try to explore and depict this other world, our unconscious mind through my paintings.
You just got back from an exhibition in Mumbai. How was the response?
The response was really good. In fact, I have always received commercial success and critical accolades in Mumbai. The exhibition was entitled ‘Matters of Mind’ and as the name suggests it reflected the existence of 'matters around me’ (conscious mind) and 'matters above me' (the unconscious mind). You can say that through the paintings I was searching for what lies beneath the 'human science', the paintings were a quest to discover the inner voice. Besides Mumbai, my works (solo and group) have been showcased in Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Singapore et al and they have been well-received.
What about Kolkata? Has Kolkata been elusive in recognising your talent?
Well, Kolkata is the place for artists. People here understand art and have tremendous respect for artists. This is where I belong. But yes, for some reason my works have received better response outside the city. I don't mind that. As long as my works are being appreciated and also receiving commercial success, there's no regret or complaints. Also, it is a good thing to go beyond the physical boundary of the place you belong to — once you are recognised outside, people in your home town too will someday get up and take notice.
What's keeping you busy these days?
Well, I am busy with my paintings and I am also writing a book on Carl Jung’s theory of 'collective unconscious.
Now, let's take a detour from your artistic world and talk about cars. Do you drive?
No, I don't. Driving is serious business and I tend to lose concentration. I don't know but, whenever, I sit behind the steering, I tend to put on my thinking cap and then I become unmindful. That's too risky. So, I have a driver who takes me around in my red Alto.
Describe a bad car day.
I had just brought my new Alto when one day a bus just came and banged into it. The accident happened near the Gariahat flyover and my driver broke down in tears. I had to urge him to stop crying. Imagine having a driver who instead of chasing the bus breaks down into tears himself!
What's your message for the motorists of Kolkata?
Drive consciously, safely and be patient on the road. (AS TOLD TO JAYEETA GANGULY)