Amitabha Sengupta was born in Kolkata. After his studies in Sociology, he started working as a journalist for The Indian Express, then shifted to the Audio-visual Media. He got a chance to work as an Asst.Director with Sri Abhijit Dasgupta to make Documentary Film “The Jail”, which received the Award for the Best Documentary at the San Francisco Golden Gate Documentary Festival, 2009. Painting was his passion but in 2013, he decided to take it up at a professional scale. Till date had 4 Solo Shows and 7 group shows, 5 in Kolkata and 2 in New Delhi. Over an Email conversation he tells more about his life and journey as an artist:
Ashish: What is the story behind you becoming a painter?
Amitabha Sengupta: My Father was an eminent cartographer. My Mother was into the West Bengal Education Service and a Principal of the Bethune School, considered the most prestigious Government Girl’s School in the whole of West Bengal. Both the parents were aesthetic minds. So I feel, I have inherited the sense of colours and aesthetics from them to some extent.So playing with colours was a kind of childhood love for me, although I didn’t have any so-called technical training in Fine Arts. Then with time, I stepped into the world of hardcore news Journalism and Audiovisual News was my area. At that time the television screen used to be my canvas and visuals acted as paints to sketch out a story. But then life took a different turn altogether in the year 2011, when I chanced to meet a gentleman named Sri. Anirudh Chari, an art critique as well as a man of immense talents. It was him who saw my works at home and struck the right cord in me. He constantly encouraged me so that I bring my works out under the sun
It took almost more than one year to prepare myself and I had my first Self-Curated Solo-show of paintings in 2013. That was the beginning. And I slowly made my way to the world of colours.
Ashish: What inspires you to put your energy into art?
Amitabha Sengupta: To me, the main inspiration is Life itself. I feel every event, every object, every face around me had a story to say. And as a painter, I wished to give shape to these stories.
Ashish: What materials do u use in your paintings?
Amitabha Sengupta: Initially, I used to work on Handmade papers with acrylic and watercolours. Not rarely I used brushes. It was more finger work. The brushes and gel pens were needed only to add on intricacies and embellishments. But then I love to experiment with the medium as well as style. I started working on landscapes. Here too there is very less use of brushes. Rather apart from finger I use simple utensil scrubbers.
Ashish: How have you evolved as an artist?
Amitabha Sengupta:I feel that an artist was in me since birth. But the evolution as a professional artist took not only time but mental encouragement. Here again, I should acknowledge the contribution of Sri. Anirudh Chari, who didn’t teach me art but taught me to think n give shape to my thoughts n bring them under the sun. In course of time, I was blessed to meet people like Smt. Ruby Pal Chowdhury, Hny. Secy General, Crafts Council of West Bengal, Sri. Aakshat Sinha, an eminent artist and Art Critique, Padmini Mehta, Eminent Artist, Sri. Debamalya Chattyopadhayay, Eminent Vocalist, Sri. Rudra Kishore Mandal, Eminent Artist, Sri. Pawan Dhall and much more who were not only mere friends but inspirations for me.
Ashish: Who is/are your favourite artists?
Amitabha Sengupta: I think its a long list. From Raja Ravi Varma’s intricate embellishments to Amrita Shergil’s riot of colours…Manu Parekh, Ramananda Bandyopadhayay, Vikas Bhattacharya, Wassim Kapur. The list is really a big one. But to be specific I’m very much inspired by the Bengal School, especially the Kalighat Potochitras and the Ganjifa styles. Two other very contemporary and young painters whose works I love are Shiblee Muneer from Lahore and Balbir Krishnan for their very contemporary and thoughtful ideas. I find them really beautiful.
Ashish: As an artist what do you think needs to be done in order to reach out people?
Amitabha Sengupta: Firstly, art, whatever the medium is should reach to the masses. Here it’s also the artist’s responsibility to work out things that are easily comprehensible. Every art should represent a clear meaning or tell a story. Secondly, if the commercial aspect is to be taken into account, the displays should be made in a way that buyers or collectors are attracted.
Ashish: What differences do you find in the audience of India and abroad?
Amitabha Sengupta:There’s no much difference between as far as the audiences of India and abroad are concerned, as far as they possess the quality of understanding and appreciating an art work. Here gain the responsibility of the artist and the audience, I feel should be equal.
Ashish: Is art limited to some classes in India? If so what are the reasons?
Amitabha Sengupta: Very much true…I apologize for I might sound rude and harsh and with due respect to the Masters, I feel the audience who can afford to buy original paintings should also go through the works of the new generation painters than being just stuck to the Masters n the already established names. This, in turn, will broaden the scope of the new generation artists and their creations.
Ashish: How do you see the economics of art in India?
Amitabha Sengupta: I won’t say it a totally negative scenario but to some extent, its restricted to certain class. And I hope if the newcomers get a bit more light, the scene will be both aesthetically and commercially brighter.