Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 : Probir Gupta

A Witness to Turbulence

Born in 1960, Probir Gupta studied painting and mural design at the Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata, graduating from the institution in 1981. In 1987 he pursued his love for painting at the prestigious Ecole Nationale Supérieure Des Beaux Arts, Paris.

Gupta was an art student during the Maoist uprising and this had a long lasting impact on the physiology of his art. His work does dwell on the noir such as terror, rebellion and oppression. The strong emotions experienced by those on either side of any conflict. Heavily leaning towards political content and activism, Gupta unapologetically aligns himself towards human rights issues for man’s constant struggle for justice and equality.


Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 : Probir Gupta
Artist Probir Gupta
image courtesy : www.fortkochi.net

Probir Gupta at Kochi Biennale

“The Wall As A Witness to Turbulence” at the TKM warehouse at the Kochi Biennale is a poignant reminder of all the terror and tragedy that it witnessed. It refers to news reports following the Muzzafarnagar riots of 2013, where women were raped behind walls. Probir Gupta’s metaphor extends to the inability of those in places of power who have also been mute spectators of crimes.

Historically, women primarily bear the brunt of all political violence. “The hair becomes a blaring signifier of gender the work pertains to. It has always been considered the most beautiful accessory of a woman and in times of abuse becomes a tool to shame and torture the victim,” explains the 59-year-old.

‘Fresh Memories’ is another example of Probir’s works that speak of pulsating backgrounds. The image of the philosopher points towards the image of the Bamiyan Buddha which was a target of militant iconoclasm in contemporary geopolitics. Gupta refers to the massive 6th-century Gandhara art statues of central Afghanistan which the fundamentalist Taliban regime of Kabul destroyed in 2001.

Anita Dube’s exquisite curation of the Kochi Biennale is a journey of understanding displacement, turbulence and man in context to the largest canvas of all times – Life.



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