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NIFT graduate Nandan Purkayastha creates magical stories inspired by Indian folklore and western comics in a solo show titled
Festive Fantasy @ Gallerie Ganesha, Oct 21 to Nov 14
New Delhi: The Durga idol, asuras (demons), tiger, birds and human figures all come together in colourful canvases created by Kolkata-based Assamese artist Nandan Purkayastha who uses the rotring ballpoint pen for these intricately detailed patterns. You can spot all his characters in flowing garments almost floating in air and sharing space with flora and fauna, all intertwined with each other to form a surreal dreamscape of magical realism. Inspired by Indian folklore and western cowboy comics, 30-year-old Purkayastha, an alumni of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, is showing a solo show titled Festive Fantasy at Gallerie Ganesha, E-557, Greater Kailash II, New Delhi from October 21 to November 14, 2016, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.
Says Shobha Bhatia, Director, Gallerie Ganesha: “This is a collection of works filled with fantasy forms that border on and feed from the edge of reality.”
In some of his works, done both in monochrome drawings and colourful paintings, the prime figure is that of Goddess Durga, though constructed in a surreal manner. “I was born in Tinsukhia in Assam surrounded by folklore, and was extremely fond of reading western cowboy comics. In my work, you will stories that have emerged from the East but the drawing style is inspired by western comics. Durga Puja and Bihu were part of my childhood in Assam so they always form part of my work.”
Hence, paintings like Celestial Realm and Devotion focus on Durga Puja festivities and rituals, ranging from creation of the idols to their immersion. “There is an entire ceremony associated with the creation of these idols, from collection of clay to decorating the idol.” In the same work, one can also spot myriad other figures, Raavan (the demon kind), for instance. “I think he is a strong, spiritual character, who has both negative and positive attributes.” It is this dichotomy in human nature that Purkayastha also seeks to show through the recurring motif of masks in many works. “Masks are used by different people for different things. A clown uses a mask to make people laugh, while some use it to hide their real emotions. There is a mask for everyone.”
The impact of his training in fashion is evident in the use of the rotring ballpoint pen and in the clothes and hairstyle of figures and the contours of birds and beasts, which are derived both from mythological and modern stories. Motifs from nature form an integral part of his work as well, as do human figures that portray different expressions and sentiments.