Avijit Ghosh and his syncretic art: recycling indian mythology in Paris
I am Avijit Ghosh, an artist – designer from India. I was born in Chandannager and I finished my school life in a village very near to Calcutta called Barajaguli. After finish my graduation at history honours I came to know about shantiniketan ,viswa bharati university and I join kala bhavan at 1998 to finished my design study from viswabharati university,shantiniketan, ( founded by Rabindranath Tagore )and after did my post graduation in textile design from national institute of fashion technology, Calcutta ( NIFT ), 2002 after I used to work in a textile export house as an artistic director and design head from 2002 to 2010 .
I started to living at Paris from September 2010 to follow my MBA fashion business management study, with my study at Paris I was really very interested to discover the city, people and culture, I used to live Cite International University, at Maison de L’Inde , from 2010 September to June 2013, which is a international living place, inspire me involve in multicultural atmosphere and share my culture through a big group of creative peoples after santiniketan , which help me to find out lots of international friends here and continue my creativity with lot of international artists friends. its like a world inside of a world. This place really help me to understand the different country culture as well share my own origin Indian culture.
I started my artistic carrier after my study at Paris by inspiration of garbage, when I was used to travel different street, place of Paris, always I found lots of materials people are throughout their old used materials out side and so call those are not waste, they can be used again. I am trying to find out why is this, my friends are used to explained me this is the reason of shifting flats, lack of space in small room of Paris or may be the things are old or hand work, rapier materials are very expensive her , but I was not so happy through their explanation to find out the right reason, I recall my memory and found I used to see how my used shirt reuse again as a pillow cover or kitchen duster through my grand mother, or my father pants reused to buy some new utensil, I thought why those things are not here, what is the problem ?
Which really think me lot and I start to find out the reason , finally I found it’s a lack of practice handwork or compromise nature , through de localization of lot of hand craft from France, a generation forgot to work by their hand to create very simple things in their own life, its just lack of practice and felling to love on everything. Paris is one of international city in world where peoples are coming from all over world for their work, exploration or by emigration, here people everyday fighting alone to exist as a human or establish their identity alone . its like a struggle for existence where people forget their simplicity in life or compromise…..just go beyond from boundary.
As an Indian I am used to learn from my childhood the God exist every where so you have to respect all objects that’s the reason if our feet touch on some object we do ‘pranam’ put our hand on our head, its just a practice of felling which make us understand respect on everything.
I find out its really a big problem for the generation if we don’t know how to stitch our shirt button and if it is just a reason to through the shirt, so I have to do something for this generation by my creation. which finally express by the project of ‘retro synthesis ‘ this is a project, art movement where I organize several workshop and ask Parisian people which they are going to through tomorrow come with those materials and in the work shop we work together with those waste objects, I show them how they can re utilize again those objects, in this time I explain them what is the value of material and practice to compromising with everything, it means in this way they learn some hand craft as well it’s a big philosophical practice to understand value of all object, it’s a process to love everything and compromise in life to live with everything in life like a family , I explain them please try to understand to fell this objects has life and one day you were so happy to buy this and you except this object so close to your heart, but now you decide to through this, why you are not think again, why you can’t able to stay with this object through some modification ? I show them how to modify those old object by several hand craft , art, as well I explained them this is also practice of love and compromise in life with love, which is exercise for this generation to understand the value of love, so they can try in their life up to end to compromise with love in life and start this practice from the home.
This is a big expression which come from Hindu mythology, that life is every where and you have to respect all objects. by this felling I started my artistic activity in Paris, If you remember the Narashingha incarnation of lord Vishnu , where he came as form of Narashingha ( human and lion together in a body ) from the inside of a pillar to kill the demon Hiranya kashipu , father of Prahalad. Reason the demon don’t believe according to his son that the Good is everywhere even lord Vishnu can be inside of the pillar.
With my workshop I always express this story of Hindu mythology as well some other story where the Parisians can understand life is everywhere and can fell that with story as well by practical experiences.
Same time I started to thinking what will be the other way to express my felling to practice art, hand craft as well some simple work by hand to Parisian new generation to achieve simplicity of life,
My next activity step was fusion paintings, I am a painter too, and my painting style inspired by Bengal pata chitra and mithila-madhubanie paintings, where I express my character by fusion of these two styles, now I started to make fusion to paint with Hindu mythology and christen story, I paint Christ as a style of Krishna, I painted mother Marie with Christ as a form of baby Krishna and his mother jashoda, or parvati with ganesha form of mother and child .i painted Monalisa as a form of Indian women , I paint Adam and eve as form of a couple of Indian village. People started to liking paintings and found its very interesting in fusion of east and west, also through this paintings I started to paint several Hindu mythology characters or story . I paint lot the Jesus and his several life story, I found the form of crucified form of jesus quite similar of form of lord Chaitanya, both are rising the hand , I mixed lot lord Krishna with jesus to express that we all are same human, their cant be any boundry of isam ,Gods ar the characters of my paintings to express Gods are human too or human can be God too. slowly its became famous by several exhibition and some time my friends ask me to paint their face or story as style of Hindu mythology or character. same time I started to made several sculptor like lord Ganesha ,façade in form of Hindu terracotta temple etc to make people understand our traditional art style.
Again my next step was express my message by fashion show, reason after one year of my artistic movement I was looking how I can reach to more people to express my recycle art with Indian culture, then I made plane for the fashion show and a proper presentation to express Hindu mythology.
In this show all Hindu Good, goddess are my inspiration for fashion, reason from the childhood I used to listen or visualize durga has colour of reddish yellow, saraswati is white, ganesha is pink, kali is black, Krishna is blue, as well their hair style , dress is like this, they used to sit on lotus etc etc , ….after I realize it’s a big explanation of fashion, it’s a big felling which how many years ago in ancient age our tradition explained about, style, clothes, colour, art, jewellery through good goddess which are complete fashion and trend. as well according my realization the Hindu god goddess are several character from the different novel or epic and through them our ancient previous generation teach the process of life style, just like today’s cinema. I was interested to express that realization by my fashion art creation, where I created all garments , mask, jewelery, weapons according to explanation of our Veda but through waste materials to show how we can reuse the used materials in this project.
In the show I present several character of god goddess by several song and dance drama, in this way I present several province of India, as a example goddess durga, laxmi is very famous in Bengal, kartika is famous in south, hanuman is well respected in north, according to this concept the songs and background visual videos are also chosen to follow the Indian different regional and providences culture.
In the show models are presented several mythological character by dance drama which are also inspired by several regional folk dance like chaw, kathakali, tandav,manipurie etc. this show is a combine presentation of audio, visual with dance drama.
This is very interesting that all models who are present the character they are not Indians, they are my several international nationality friends, like shiva can be a German, laxmi can be a Rumanian, durga is maxi can, saraswati is portugize,hanuman is from Cameroon ( Africa ), kartika is Moroccan etc. I choose people for my models according the look and their interests to participation in this art form of fashion show , reason in this way I also like to involve people in art. I keep in mind the explanation of mythology character and I propose them to understand the character, I explained them several mythological story of same character, show them the video to understand properly that character for presentation. Slowly through practice they understand the mood of character and when they present the same character on stage or ramp walk they are beyond of nationality they are just a good or goddess from Hindu mythology they are untouchable dream, history or ancient tradition which you can only see or realize.
I fell really happy and proud through this show reason I am able to share our mythology, culture with many nationality peoples and after they share same story with their several friends , so it’s a process which slowly expressing and scattered by different people in Europe by a multiple way , and every time there is new models for new shows for the characters to present their wish and interest on art . After all shows I received lots of appreciation from French audiences as a comment that they seen something new approach at Paris about India, a new art fusion of traditional mythology which exist on character. they found a origin of new fell of India as well Hindu culture on the stage through this show.
At Paris French people are really interested about Indian exoticness, they love India and its culture , regarding the religion they are little confused, reason in India there are lot of religion, they are confused about several religion like Sikh, Buddha, Jain as well Hinduism, they know little about few good , goddess from Hindu mythology, like shiva, ganesha are kind of famous good for Parisian, you will find lot of cute ganesh sculptor in their house. They don’t know more then other good or goddess, Parisian love the mythological story to listen or watch by videos.
It was my big responsibility to make them clear about our several religion and the link of Hinduism, like all other religion – sikh, jain, baudha are the part of Hinduism, so Hinduism is a mother of all these religion, and I explain them what exactly Hindu- to explain this I start from Indus valley civilization and the people who live in this river bank of civilization they known the name of indie/indu/hindu reason of the river Indus. At the beginning we all were pagan , so we all are used to warship the nature but after to reconstruct the society and its wealthness people started to create several story and connected with good , goddess reason they understood it will be more easy to convey the messages to teach people for civilization by some lesson and it will be more easy like if this lesson practice by people to make happy the good goodness which are the role model or icon for them, exactly like today’s bollywood movies, like hero, heroine and people follow them.
I make them understand the Hindu its not only a religion it’s a civilization who lives in a river bank and started some practice to make their life more comfortable and proper way, its also a very flexible community that’s the reason we have several epics, books like several part of Veda, uponishod, Ramayana, Mahabharata, its proved according to the time, society need we change our rule regulation, its also prove that we believe in freedom. The Hindu good, goddess are like several character , for a novel we need several character to continue the story its like same as well according to the change of society it was a demand of new character or new icon to follow the practice so again a new god created and connected with main trilogy. Its really a nice experience to share my view about our mythology, religion with these people they found a new ancient modern india where the modernity was described at ancient period.
I presented my show, painting exhibition ,recycle workshop several part of paris or France as well did lot of combined work with UNESCO ,Indian Embassy, several district Town Hall of Paris, several indo French organization to organize cultural event to present a new look of India in France. I continue my all these activity from last two years at Paris and trying my best to share this at all over France , At year of 2014 I was invited to present my painting exhibition and recycle fashion art film < Indian Mythology in Fashion > at Film Festival of Cannes. Presently I continue a art workshop project at Paris, called to share several Indian traditional folk provinces art and present that particular province in front of French people to encourage travel to those provinces and discover a new origin India image As well thinking for a new recycle art fashion show to make fusion of Hindu and Greek-roman mythology, to explain we all are same, at beginning we were pagan so we used to warship nature, in this show I like to make fusion of Good, Goddess from both mythology, like same concept of Madan and Cupid, snake goddess Manasa and Madieusa etc…………I really like to work more on this multicultural concept and mixed both part of world to create a new movement of humanity of art. As well have wish to establish a centre where all kind of art can be practice to express art beyond of any geographical boundary to make fusion for creation and continuity.
29 rue Francois Rolland, Nogent sur marne,