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Suman Kabiraj

Suman Kabiraj’s  work is subversive and a comment on the human condition itself offering the viewer a behind-the-scenes look at the heroic and the rational.  Most of his subjects are familiar but recontextualized.  In what they encompass or allude to, these works transcend the merely comically grotesque or the quest for objectivity.  They are a relentless scrutiny of the world ranging from scathing social commentary to opulent ornamentalism.  On all scores, though, the artistic attention is both contemplative as well as confrontational.  

With this installation work titled ‘ Cycle of Labour’ he tried to express the pain and sufferings of migrant workers during the lockdown period in India. Migrant workers were probably group across India worst hit by the lockdown, facing widespread starvation. During the lockdown they  surveyed had lost their jobs, with workers being out of work for 38 days on average during March and April when the survey was conducted. This directly resulted in hunger. 

Most of workers reported that they had cut down their daily expenses. Their daily food consumption took the greatest hit. The instances of work loss and hunger was not a momentary phenomenon for the workers in the city but a repeat of the crisis precipitated by demonetisation in 2014

Most migrant workers come from socially marginalised communities, and this forms the basis of their insecurity in the cities. Workers in urban labour markets are divided on the basis of caste and gender identities, which determines what kinds of jobs they are able to access.

Kabiraj uses his art to point out the deficiencies in certain human institutions and the social issues which result from them in such a way that they become absurd, even hillarious, which is therefore both entertaining and accessible.  Though the tone of the works may, at first, appear light, their function is wholly serious; and as for passion, it is actuated by a fierce and strenuous moral and intellectual enthusiasm, the passion for order, justice, and beauty.  It aims to keep collective conscience alert, it exposes absurdity for what it is and makes those inclined to adopt foolish or tasteless fashions aware that what they espouse is ridiculous.  It shows society its own features and makes it odious to the sentient.  So often satire in the visual arts is portrayed as anti-progressive, yet its ability to offer cutting critique is a positive when aimed at the right targets as Kabiraj demonstrates.  He is not afraid to tell unpopular truths, but his method is to tell with the assurance and detachment of sarcasm, and sarcasm is in these sanctimonious times, is a weapon most potent.   

Artist Biography 

Suman Kabiraj  is a contemporary artist based in Calcutta , India.He  Has pursued his MFA with and BFA with  1st class from Govt. College of Art and Craft ,Calcutta University in the year of 2006 and 2004 respectively.  He visited London and Paris while doing his masters , and studied international modern and classical art scenes through museums visits. Kabiraj’s work includes Paintings, drawings, large scale murals ,photography, installation, art videos and multimedia works. His works are  represented and  exhibited in several  international galleries, festivals art events and film festivals. 

 He has been hounoured with several Awards, Scholarships like Governors gold medal , Kalanand National Gold medal, Kalanand Scholarship, Gaganendranath Tagore Memorial Award, Camlin Euro Professional Visit Scholarship, Rashbehari Dutta Memorial Award, Sunil Das Scholarship , Gopen Roy Memorial Award, Mukul Dey graphics Award etc. 

Represented in Patchlab Digital Art Festival ,Krakow, Poland supported by Goethe institute and The University of Auckland 2020,     Virtual Residency on Lockdown works project by Emptyroom Art , Mozambique, South Africa 2020 ,Taiwan International Show 2020 ,   ‘Art under lockdown’ by Counterweave Arts, Rome Italy curated by Felicity Griffin Clark 2020,  ‘COVID19 Creative Outlet’ by Ideasblock art gallery ,Vilnius Lithuania 2020, ‘BITE’ an international art project preview by Shanghai Contemporary Matters Co.Ltd. ‘The Situation Room 2020’ international art project by Kala Chaupal India.

 Group Show organised by Indian Tourism Department and Kolkata Centre for Creativity 2019,  Group Show ‘Reflection of Another Day’ 2018-2019 at Birla Academy of Art and Culture Calcutta , Netherland Streaming Festival for Audio Visual art, United Kingdom in 2014, Summer Show 2014 at Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata in 2014,  ‘Liquid Cities & Temporary Identities’ international exhibition, Espoo (Finland) in 2013,   Catalyst Arts Belfast International Festival, Belfast, United Kingdom in 2013,   Stigmart /10 Europe International Annual Previews in 2012,.  ‘ Zen Next-111 ‘ International Art Show at Aakriti art gallery, Kolkata,2008, ‘ YOUNG CONTEMPORARIES ‘ organized by Aakriti art gallery, curated by Shri Jogen Chowdhury, Kolkata in 2007, ‘ ART WATCH ‘ trends and talents of India today- Group Show organized by Gallery 88, Kolkata in 2006 , All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society, Annual Exhibition ( AIFACS) New Delhi are few of them. 

With making video art his first interest was grown up in making short experimental films. Though his various video art works are represented in several international art events, screenings and art galleries and took great admiration . Besides he is been involved as the primary character and art director in ‘Mind and Canvas’ docu feature which is produced by Indian Film Division, Govt.of India. 

 He lives and works in Calcutta

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