Sovan Kumar is a painting artist from Orissa, born in Bhubaneshwar in 1969. He has depicted the current ‘state’ of Orissa through his paintings where multinational companies tearing apart the state and lives of villagers. Multinationals are being invited to mine in Orissa’s tribal belts, displacing the community in the process. Sovan Kumar’s latest project – ‘truck project’ is about government rehabilitates people in concrete homes where they are obviously uncomfortable and unhappy. The area after 8pm is full of trucks transporting material from the mines to the local sea ports.The ‘truck project’, paintings, sculptures and installations, is about this phenomenon.
Paintings depicting the captivating countryside and pristine rural landscapes have usually been profoundly over-determined by the symbolic demands placed on the ‘rural’ as a site of untouched, pure space of sheer ‘natural beauty.’ Sovan Kumar is an artist who has gone beyond the outward beauty and put a question mark over rampant industrialization, which they believe, is fueled by demands of globalization, restructuring rather distorting the rural landscape.
The devastation caused by the greed of a few who sadly remain oblivious to the miseries and pain of the majority has been a key driving factor in Sovan Kumar’s thought process as an artist. The artist has placed the ethics of representation at the core of his practice.
He subjects the land to a different kind of scrutiny. Landscape to him is not a mere idyllic site to gaze upon, for he perhaps realizes that under the deep red of the land, beneath the lush foliage of the trees, lies a sorry tale of exploitation.
His paintings and installations scrutinize the conditions that have led to the emergence of a new type of a workforce controlled by large corporations and supported by the power of the state. Through his visual representations, he records with an unerring eye, the quiet power and force of masses, silently or violently protesting against the resultant disparity.
His terracotta figurines that form part of a collective body are shown voicing their angst via banners and posters. High capital intensive machinery in the form of bulldozers and trucks; mechanical monsters that take away forms of lively-hood without offering an alternative, all become a symbolic presence in his work.
Apart from paintings and drawings, Sovan Kumar’s diverse oeuvre also consists of photographs, sculptures (wood, ceramic) and installations (terracotta). His solo show entitled ‘Latcho Drom’ threw ample hints regarding his inclinations as an artist with acute social consciousness.
Through his work, the artist looks to put his urban audience into a state of dilemma, making them question the visual discourse of images surrounding them. He effectively questions our lack of insight and our tendency to ignore the signals pointing towards a difficult future if we do not mend our ways soon
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- 1998 Central Academy of Art & Desing, Beijing, P.R. China.
- 1995 MFA, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
- 1992 BFA, B.K. College of Arts & Crafts, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
- 1987-92 Annual Art Exhibition, B.K. College of Arts
- 1988-95 State Lalit Kala Academy, Orissa.
- 1988 Group Exhibition of State Lalit Kala Academy, Calcutta.
- 1989-91 Fine Art Academy, Calcutta.
- 1989-93 Summer Show, WAA, Orissa.
- 1990 Group Exhibition, Punjab University, Chandigarh.
- 1990 All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society, New Delhi
- 1990-94 Kala Mela, New Delhi, Kanpur, Bangalore, Kolkata.
- 1991 Solo exhibition, My House, Bhubaneswar.
- 1991 Group Show, Bhubaneswar.
- 1992 National and Zonal Youth Festival.
- 1993 Group Show, A.B.C. Art Gallery, Varanasi.
- 1993 Group Show, Fine Art Gallery, Calcutta.
- 1993-95 All India Exhibition, Rajasthan.
- 1994 Group Show, Bajaj Art Gallery, Bombay.
- 1995 Rabindra Bhavan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.
- 1996 Punjab Lalit Kala Academy,Chandigarh.
- 1995-96 National Exhibition, Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi.
- 1997 Solo exhibition, Bhiksu from Atelier India, One Artist Show in Beijing, China.
- 1997 5th China International Art Exposition, Beijing, China
- 1987-92 Meitis Scholarship, B.K. College of Art.
- 1988-92 Award, Annual show B.K. College of Art, Orissa.
- 1990 Rotary Club, Bhubaneswar.
- 1991 South Central Zone Culture Centre, Nagpur.
- 1992 Gold Medal, National Youth Festival, Varanasi.
- 1992 Alice Boner, Memorial Award.
- 1992-95 Merits Scholarship for Master Degree, Students.
- State Lalit Kala Academy, Orissa.
- 1993 Working Artists Association, Orissa.
- 1994 State Lalit Kala Academy, Orissa.
- 1995 National Culture, Scholarship, Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi.
- 1997 5th International Photography Exhibition, China.
- 1996-98 Chinese Government Scholarship to study in China.
- 1999 UNESCO ASCHBERG for Visual Arts.