'Indians now pay attention to art'

The Paris-anchored artist Sakti Burman feels that economic boom has changed the Indian art scene, reports Gitanjali Dang.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 13:26 IST

I have never painted guns on my canvases. This is a first for me,” reveals the Paris-anchored artist Sakti Burman aka Burmanda, currently at the Jehangir Art Gallery to exhibit his recent work, presented by Pundole Art Gallery and Apparao Galleries.

The painting, Moments in Life, the 71-year-old artist points out, is his reaction to the catastrophic events in Iraq.

Another painting titled Beauty and the Beast is his response to the tsunami tragedy. He was advised to change the title of the canvas from ‘Tsunami’ to something less explicit.

Though the artist left India way back in 1956, he still has vivid memories of the migration to France. “Back then, artists in India were treated differently. Perhaps not with indifference: the focus was on the more practical aspects of life. Paris was the natural destination for me since it happened to be the cultural hub in those times,” he says.

All that has changed now, he feels. “The economic boom has changed things in India and today people are paying greater attention to art. All said and done, I still hold an Indian passport.” Burman’s body of work has often been perceived as being a realm of fantasy.

Critics have occasionally picked on this apparent lack of engagement with the immediate world. “For me, art has always been defined by its timelessness. For the same reason I have never followed trends that are looking to provoke. I have always been interested in nature and inner feelings and my art is a vehicle for the same,” Burman says.

But besides the provocative, Burman also shows appreciation for mundane objects.

“Artists such as Van Gogh have included mundane objects such as the chair in their works. I try to do the same. I include the ordinary and place it alongside the mythic and the mysterious,” he says.

E-mail author: gitanjali.dang@ hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 22, 2006 13:18 IST