I Return -
To the subtle scent of your moist land,
of golden light and lotus blossoms,
birds trees and honey bees;
my beloved I return.
The lilting song of those dreaming eyes;
drop my shackles loose
The slender lotus stems; your arms –
soothes my craving soul
and from the land of my exile – I return.
Sisir Sahana’s new crop of paintings are love poems - an ode to his own creative instinct that transpires as the Nayika in his imagery .The nayika is distinctly stylized and rendered akin to the miniature paintings. Recalling philosophical simulacra to associate aesthetes, beauty, flair and high order that was once part of his training. This gesture of recalling a traditional style of rendering as a persona is an act of, celebration of his own artistic selection and his idea of beauty in a world where art is becoming a concept and the concept - art.
Sisir’s thought at this juncture echoes Paul Gauguin’s writings –
“Painting is the most beautiful of all arts. In it, all sensations are condensed, at its aspect everyone may create romance at the will of his imagination, and at a glance have his soul invaded by the most profound memories, no efforts of memory, everything summed up in one moment. Complete art which sums up all the others and completes them. Like music, it acts on the soul through the intermediary of the senses, the harmonious tones corresponding to the harmonies of sounds…”
In this series Sisir responds to his innate yearnings of going back to his world of music and poetic resonance tearing away the cluster of wires that make him accountable to the compulsions of contemporary living, all his paintings herein reflects this bondage, the man emerges in the sky with a garland of blinking lights for his Nayika, specifically made in China. The inclusion of awareness of his own surrounding world creeps in unable to ignore the tongue in cheek.
Sisir’s earlier works sprout from a fascination of a complete amalgamation of light and colour in glass. He began to work with the medium of glass painting and over a period of time evolved his own specialized technique by abrading, gouging, scraping and heat bonding the forms in glass itself. Certain sections are etched for textural effect. He also casts and stains the glass, achieving to create relief on glass rather than painting the surface.
The new works weave in a variety of textures too expressing the dilapidated state of a stagnant mind, rendered as the yellow grey powdery fungus; a pixellated pool reflects the digitized world. Parallel to this subtle gloom, the birds and the blossoms rendered in the miniaturists manner, infuses excitement and love for life.
Pratima Seth mentions –“His style is basically figurative with the poorer sections of society being represented set against headless idols and ruined movements. The air is of dissipated and dilapidated grandeur. Black makes a strong statement in the outlining of forms (as is usual in stained glass work).”
Herein the man is no longer of a generalized section; Sisir is sanguined that he appears now in his works as himself and his beloved the Nayika, is his own creativity; keeping him engrossed, alive and interested with her skill to discern, to create music and harmonize with the seasons, its essence, colours and flavours.
Sisir recognizes his own return to his internal world as a unique homecoming, while his new series progressed towards a direction unknown and yet compelling. In this relationship of creating and becoming conscious of existential conditions, he achieves to free himself from a state of emotional exile and experiences his return to the poetic metaphors embedded in his creative nurturing in Santiniketan.
Sisir’s recreating of the Nayika in his paintings is somewhat analogous to the action of the Gopika in a miniature painting, the one who tries to caress the shadow of the kite, envisioning it to be her beloved Krishna. Similarly in this series the artist recalls the beauty of those poetic forms from the past and these are expressed as metaphors for the artist’s love for beauty; epitomized in the form of the Nayika.
In the discussed paintings the sensuality to yield to fine design overrides the artist’s intention to be relevant and as Kant is to be referred to in this context, this affinity of design is beyond the limitations of building around a concept, it is beyond the mind and beyond our senses. It is born out of a high order and thus brings one close to experiencing the spiritual sublime.
Koeli Mukherjee Ghose.