Kolkata-based artist documents life in mangrove land

Much like an act of meditation, artist Mrinal Kanti Gayen explores the aspect of continuity and rhythm in all his sculptures. Describing his understanding, the Kolkata-based artist tells, “My work is like a bioscope through which I see and understand the world.”


He often explores the relation between human, nature and urbanity and redefines the modernist sensibility through his bronze sculptures. The symphony of monsoon breeze, serene lakes where the sky mirrors itself, lotus and lily ponds, ducks and geese frolicking around under the winter sun or the palm and date trees skirting around the pond where village lads play, all these narratives are exhibited in Mrinal’s ongoing solo exhibition ‘Tactile Melodies’ at Art Houz Gallery in Chennai.

The mundane rustic experience of his life in the Sunderbans turns into a timeless art at the exhibition. “Constant communication exists all around us. Everything has life and there is always a way of expression. Trees express themselves through their movements,” said the artist.


The artist’s understanding of his medium and roots has helped him communicate effortlessly through his artwork. He is among the few sculptors whose representation of nature and artistic vocabulary has been inspired by the swamps, a response to the aesthetics perceived in the mangroves. They are about growth, survival, spirit of life and the primordial existence of nature.

The artist aspires for the abstraction of sculptures from ‘volume’ space to ‘hollow space’ through his works, which is a great challenge. “The fugitive impressions certainly leave some marks that no one can measure by any so called authoritative standards. These impressions are the never-ending play of ‘is’ and ‘is not: a relentless marriage of ‘being’ and ‘nothing’, an incessant matrimony of ‘void’ and ‘mass’ which is visible and invisible at the same moment,” said the National Award winning artist.

“I want to create nature alive in a hollow space and give complete engrossment to art rather than its volume,’said Mrinal.
‘This conjugation of void and mass I have tried to reflect in my sculptures in a way that I cannot explain in any other tangible form than the sculptures themselves,” he added.

In his range of bronze culture some with platina, Mrinal has investigated and engaged with the holistic environment that he saw, particularly, the form of trees with its peculiar branches and roots embedded deep within the sediments of the sea. The rhythm that lurks in the sculptures is equally marked by the rhythm of life with the vulnerability of man entering the unpredictable sea waters.

Mrinal Kanti Gayen often looks back to his environment like an observant naturalist, presenting the trivialities that reflect innocent joys of life. There is a continuous reflection of life that thrives in his works. The more closely we look into his surroundings and try to locate the dynamic form called life it proves to be minutely,diversely and elaborately rhythmic in nature.

(Written by Ardra S)

NT Bureau