‘Journey’ – Prof.Sisir Sahana

4. Barbie meets the met- acrylic on canvas, 2006

1.Barbie Series   

Exile in the Wild-6

2.Exile in the wild


Prof.Sisir Sahana from Santiniketan has displayed his works at Cultural Centre of Vijayawada, capital of newly formed Andhra Pradesh state. This exhibition is a graph of his journey for the last 3 decades. He travelled drawing lines, painting colors and sculpting in glass medium to express his deeper thoughts. He worked in film making medium also that hosted his passions to see figures in animated movements. He divides space on his painting compositions that creates a narrative mode. The women figures ‘a carry forward’ from Indian miniature painting styles in the compositions indicate the meanings of traditions. That could also indicate the nostalgic past symbolically. Symbolic figures of Barbie dolls indicate a desire for western life style adaptations in our society. Dolls are like a mini world of human beings, a world that we can play with it. In a way Sisir is commenting both ways while including glossy colors of those Barbie dolls. The dolls mimic us and transgress our understanding between entertainment and reality. Making dolls on the composition could be an effort to see the transgression between our intangible dreams to visualize a tangible reality.

Observing the cultural co existence in the society is another pre-occupation of his. The intrusion of many foreign practices whether it’s from the West or from the East they are internalized in our society. For example at the time of ‘Swadeshi Movement’ struggles against British rule in India, artists of East, i.e. Indian, Japanese, Chinese followed a Pan-Asian movement and Indian artists practiced techniques and painting styles of East. Those styles are internalized and known as indigenous styles of India at present.

His glass sculptures are a rarity of art works because of availability of techniques and acquiring the technical perfections. Glass is an aesthetic as well as a difficult medium. Volcanic glass was the natural glass material available and people were making knives, arrow heads, jewellery with that natural glass dating back to 5000BC Syria or 3500 BC to Eastern Mesopotamia and Egypt. Syria craftsmen invented blow pipe technique in making the glass in 1st C. and that made glass production easy and viable, economic, faster and cheaper. Glass adorned Cathedrals and Churches.

Though glass medium was practiced as a craft material, artists of 19th and 20th C. adapted the glass to create the art works. Art glass called as studio glass has opened further possibilities to the artists. Artists like Sisir made art glass as warm glass to hold their passions. Textures on his glass sculptures look like hazy water surfaces where the reflection is unclear. Glass transparency is water like. His adaptation of aqua green and blue color fusions also brings in such meanings. Materiality of glass is brittle comparable to the reality of mortal life. He combines many such meanings and aesthetic statements in his works.

His works transgresses once on time another time on space. Objects and life once present on this earth freezes to become fossils frozen in the layers of earth. Time and History are traceable through those fossil objects. Probably he is trying to map a graph in between the time periods through the fossils. Otherwise once time passed away cannot be reached. Fossil can become the tangible reality for that intangible time passed, which can be an imagination alone otherwise. Today’s our walk is overlapped on yesterday’s people’s walk and will be walked over by tomorrow.

His compositions always speak about certain commonly found incidents. Love has to transgress the objective worldly relation to reach the soul relation. Women and her potentials transgressed in his glass sculptures as women unified along with the form of tiger, horse, boat and women. This is a transgression of energy and courage in woman that is expressed in his sculptures. Transgression between the fragility and aesthetic beauty of the glass is another format experimented by Prof.Sahana.

We understand world from our perspective. His observation is from other end. Universally understood subjects transgress to express his personal experiences. His compositions appear like his auto biographical images, can be related to many common stories of many people and their experiences. His work is more on the philosophical meanings than the objective of documenting the real. Viewer may encounter a mystery hidden rather than History reading.

Artists are of two kinds. Few drive their passions to reach their goals. Few are driven by their passions. Sisir seems an artist of second category. He makes a survey of the undisclosed and abstract images of imaginations. They are poetic too. We shall call them ‘Images of Interactive Museum’. What I understand by this term Interactive Museum is, he is trying to gaze a picture while juxtaposing the space lived by previous generations and present generation’s life on the same space continued to live. He is trying to draw a connecting line between those two.