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Order of the day

Bereft of chaos, Amitava Das’s studio is a reflection of the artist and his work.

Like any other artist, Amitava Das’s studio is a reflection of his personality. There’s no room for clutter. And like much of his art, minimalism flows into this space unhindered. Bottles of paints are stacked in a wooden cabinet, a phonebook and invitation cards—of exhibitions across the city and his current show with Jeram Patel in Kolkata—are on a centre table, and sketch pens are in a bag by the laptop on another table. “I use things during daytime, but keep them back before I wrap up,” reveals Das, who designed the studio more than 20 years ago when he moved from Lalit Kala Akademi’s Garhi to his home, off Delhi’s bustling Bengali Market.

“Working from home seemed more convenient,” he reasons. While a custom-made easel was created according to the dimensions of the wall, the artist also made sure that the room had a dewan and cane chairs for guests who often called on him. “I don’t mind people visiting me at the studio, but I’m not comfortable painting when they are there,” he says.

He doesn’t seem to be comfortable displaying his works either. So the walls are bereft of his own creations. On display, instead, is a small metal sculpture from New York and artifacts created by craftsmen from Rajasthan that are kept under the railing of a staircase that leads to another room.

“I like collecting artwork and decorating them. My own canvases are always stacked in a corner,” says Das. Integral to Das’s works are his immediate surroundings. While motifs from nature in his early creations reflected the childhood in Shimla, the paper-works have often acted as travelogues, pasted with car stickers, stamps, museum tickets and labels collected during sojourns across the globe.

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Then there’s the utilitarian side to Das, seen in the kitchen, “where I cook non-vegetarian dishes”, smiles Das, adding that his wife Mona Rai, who is also an artist, is vegetarian. Pull up the chik covering the window behind the dewan and you find more sculptures on the sill. Here’s also a calendar marked with reminders. “I like to note down important dates lest I forget,” says Das. Unlikely, given the order that prevails in his studio. ©

First published on: 21-12-2007 at 03:16:49 pm
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