Sunday, August 09, 2015

Heritage Inspired Paintings


“I have always lived in hopeful aspiration.
Sakti Burman

The Paris based figurative artist Sakti Burman paints gentle dream like works that fuse his everyday experiences with the deities of his Indian heritage. As he told Art Radar’s Rosa Maria Falvo “I want to focus on the strength that lies in love.”

And whilst his work has a dream like quality it is a construct rather than a remembrance. As he has said “I don’t remember my dreams. I don’t consciously use my dreams to feed my work. I never had that. I thought one day of collecting all my favorite ones, but I can’t do it because I don’t really remember them.

Burman grew up in rural East Bengal, before it became Bangladesh, with his school teachers recognizing his artistic talent. His father wanted the young Burman to pursue a useful career like that of a doctor or a lawyer. But, the rest of his family prevailed upon the senior Burman to allow his son to attend the Government Art College in Calcutta followed by the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Burman made Paris his home but retained his connection with his homeland. As he explained to the The Hindu newspaper “"My childhood memories are always there, mixed up with the realities of the day.”

About which he has elaborated saying “My work is my physical and mental life unfolding before me. It’s like my subconscious expression is breaking through, the way a seedling still manages to flourish through the cracks in the pavement.

And whilst this nostalgia is ever present it is artfully mixed with the here and now.

As he has explained “I guess I paint my fantasies. You see, life is not only tangible reality as we know it. Between you and I, right now, lies the past, it’s with us as we speak, so is the present and we can’t resist thinking about the future. We live in this spectrum and, at the same time, we’re dreaming, combining it all, with our feelings which flow in and out like the endless tide… I use gods and goddesses for poetic purposes. It’s not about religion. I’m very fond of legends. I really think they have great narrative power. These figures amplify the story and carry more imaginative potential than ordinary characters can.” 

It’s an unavoidable consequence of his life, for as he says “I’m from India. I’m not French, even though I’ve been here for more than fifty years! If I had changed my nationality, do you think I would have painted like a Frenchman? I think not. I cannot deny my heritage.


The exhibition Sakti Burman 60’s – 80’s is currently on show at Delhi’s Aakriti Art Gallery until the 28th of August.


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