Sakti Burman - Life Is A Theatre

Sakti Burman - Life Is A Theatre

Sakti Burman - Life Is A Theatre

28th July 2022 - 10th September 2022

Art Alive Gallery, S-221 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110017View Works

The Dramaturge of Dream and Reverie

Sakti Burman, Recent Works

Hindustani musicians describe it as riyaaz or sadhana, the daily practice in which all great artists establish themselves, across the domains of music, writing, dance, theatre, and the visual arts. It is from this constant re-dedication to their art that they generate their visions, as formally refined as they are intuitively and conceptually compelling. For Sakti Burman, the studio is where he is most himself, immersed in the ceaseless world of dream and reverie that he translates and transcribes in his oil paintings, watercolours and drawings. He is the dramaturge of these beautiful intimations of elsewhere and elsewhen.

Even while the Covid pandemic has raged globally, and he has had to cope with public urgencies as well as personal loss, Burman has remained true to his one and only compass point – that of creating a world otherwise, a world at a tangent to this present one, where anguish is negated and delight reigns. Which is not to suggest that Burman’s world is an escape into fantasy. Quite the reverse. For the artist recognises clearly the mechanisms of transience and mortality, of vulnerability and despair, against which his images give him, and us, the hope and sense of possibility to continue into the future.

Yes, we meet divine and archetypal presences in Burman’s paintings, as well as a myriad figures drawn from myth and epic, dryads and centaurs, naiads and angels. Yet look closely, and we find the artist’s family among them. We find figures familiar to us from our own time, and from the historical record. And are these personae not aspects of ourselves, acting out our own deepest impulses, our fears and desires? Among these dimensions of otherness within ourselves are the goddess Durga and the child-god Krishna, amplifications of our own instincts towards nurture and delight, glory and splendour.

And there is Harlequin from the commedia dell’arte, in his chequered costume and distinctive cap, part jester and part trickster, pensive and playful by turns, who is the artist’s special alter ego. At the core of Sakti Burman’s art is the cycle of life in all its joy and sorrow. As if looking into a river, we look into his paintings and find there parables of childhood and parenthood, bright youth and melancholy age, festivity and solemnity. Our own lives and the lives of the generations who have gone before us, seen through the prism of the fabular imagination.

Ranjit Hoskote

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