Artist Anindita Dutta was in Beijing couple of weeks ago to present her work at the ongoing 6th Beijing International Art Biennale.
Her work, ‘Hourglass’- a massive clay installation, is possibly the only work by an Indian artist to have been acquired by the prestigious Arthur M Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University, considered China’s top university.
She giggled and put a finger on her lips and said “I cannot tell you that,” when asked how much she was paid for her work by the University. “But, well, I was happy,” she said.
Dutta who studied at Shantiniketan is currently based in Montana, US, where her husband from Bangladesh works as a bio-physicist.
“The installation is about life and death. Through my work, I wanted to talk about body, life and death,” she told HT at the Art Biennale exhibition centre in Beijing.
Artists from 96 countries are taking part in the ongoing Biennale, the theme for which this year is “Memory and Dream”.
It was last year when Dutta was invited to come to Beijing to work on her medium of choice – wet clay.
“I worked continuously for 25 days here (to finish Hourglass). I began my day 7 in the morning and almost every day worked till midnight,” Dutta recalled.
The university and museum authorities were cooperative and gave her a place to work besides providing accommodation and food.
The result was a massive installation which has four curved sides, each measuring 21 feet long, (for a total of 84 feet in length), 8 feet high and 8.3 feet wide.
“Ms Dutta’s works are powerful representations of the human condition, emotional rides into the inner-self. Each showcases the laments and triumphs of the human spirit,” Zhao Hui, Dean of the School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking university, wrote in the introduction to Dutta’s works.
“Art is not just a vehicle of pleasure – it can also be a forum wherein you think and question and open out perspectives in the world in which we live. For me, art has the power to start dialogues,” is the Dutta’s view of her work and its aim.