The ‘dark realities of fisher community’

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By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi– Santosh Kumar Sahni, an artist from Bihar, whose work speaks of the classic, dark realities of his world precisely from the Mithila community, from Darbhanga, Bihar, is all set to exhibit his works through his first-ever art show ‘Basant — Expression of Art’ from March 23-29 at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

Sahni wasn’t always an artist. He belonged to a fishermen’s community known as the Mallah community. His experience with vibrant colours, came from painting his home during Diwali and festivals since childhood.

“The subject of my painting is based on fisherman and their socio-economic, socio-cultural life. I find myself at ease with these subjects as being from a fisherman family. I have had number of experiences of fisherman’s life which reflects in my paintings, these experiences enriched me as a person,” says the artist.

In this show, the mermaids, fisherwoman and their lives — which exist in his paintings — are his muse. The boat and fishing net of fisherman is just not means of earning but have importance beyond description.

Some of the notable works to watch out for are, ‘Gajgamini’, ‘Shakti’, ‘Lifeboat’, ‘Kashti’, ‘Janani’, ‘Sneh’ and more.

He says, “My paintings are not just brushstrokes or blends of colours on canvas. But it is a convenient medium for me to establish harmony, increase love, sacrifice, peace, beauty, spirituality and creative development in all the strata of society. I closely observed and encountered the various experiences of life, truth, ugliness of the fishermen society. I felt the pangs of their hardships and joy of their spirits, their struggles to make both ends meet. Despite life’s struggles, they adapt themselves to every situation of life, even seasons like scorching heat, downpour, cold etc.”

“My subjects also show the contradictions of this world and all the universal elements whether the life of man, mermaid or someone else. Somehow, every living being is striving for to prove his existence. I have made efforts to reflect rural life as well as to address the problem of urban life.”

Sahni’s works have been exhibited in the past in several notable group shows in places like Australia, Bangkok, Canada, Los Angeles, Nepal, France, New York, San Jose and Moscow. (IANS)

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