Catch up with the Avolon Global Studio Award recipient 2018, Mantu Das, who occupied the RHA studios in 2018. Now based again in India, Mantu is kindly opening up his studio to the Friends of the RHA to show and discuss his work in progress over zoom.
Das is a raconteur in visuals. He tends to record trivial events of life deciphering various cultural gestures of his time. Being a native of Assam, Das finds inspiration in the rich tradition of Assamese folklore, proverbs, and fables. He constantly explores and imbibes as well as decodes the satirical details of such literature, linking them with contemporary events. In a Bruegelesque fashion, his visual unfolds multiple narratives within a single frame. The proverbial realities get juxtaposed with historic realities, questioning the authenticity of an event. At times mundane becomes surreal, grotesque appears beauteous in his work. The forgotten proverbs, superstitious narratives; all share the same pictorial space with the modern signs. Visual ironies help him to shape an imaginary realm where he interrogates and addresses the present socio-politico- cultural events.
Das, (b. 1985) presently works at Vellore, India. He has previously received his graduate and post-graduate degrees in painting, from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan – one of the premier art schools in India founded by Noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore. His artistic interest varies from painting to new media installations. He has participated at OPEN AiR- Artist in Residence, DEPO2015, Pilsen, Czech Republic, 2019, Avolon global artist residency, RHA Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, 2018, Piramal art residency, Cycle 16, Reimagining Mumbai, Mumbai, 2018, CEC arts links, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2016, Harmony Artist residency, 2016, Mumbai, Pier-2 Art center – Artist in residence, Taiwan,2015, A4A residency at Delhi, India 2012 and Space studio, Baroda, India 2013- 2015. He also received a residency call from Est-Nord-Est artist Residency, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Canada, 2021, ‘The windmill project’s developed by the nonprofit organization ARNA, Sweden,2016 but due to some personal reason he couldn’t join the residency program. He also received Grant from The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, Canada, 2019, residency award from Avolon global studio award, Dublin, Ireland, 2018, Artist award from CIMA artist award- 2017,5th National junior Artist Exhibition-2008 and 3rd National junior Artist Exhibition-2006.
Image: Mantu Das, Between sight and insight, DMX light, DMX, cards on plywood, 16 x 30 ft, Image courtesy of the artist.