“The rightful place for an artist, his real world, is a pot of black ink. I believe it contains all the magic, all the forms, everything that human beings can imagine and render…” says Mithila artist Santosh Kumar Das. In this poetic memoir of his growth into art, he pays a poignant tribute to the muses that transformed him into an artist — the greatest of them being his mother, along with the other women of the household who practised this originally female tradition of art. - Tara Books
When I read this it resonated so much with my own feelings that, naturally, I wanted the book, but I also went on a journey of discovery via Google to discover more about Santosh Kumar Das. The rewards were rich. His drawings and paintings combine his own philosophy, Hindu mythology, ‘those signals inside my own heart’, contemporary politics in India, and down-to-earth anecdotes from his everyday life. Santosh Kumar Das has accordingly created a body of work of amazing intensity, layered with these intricately executed elements.
Memories of Childhood Santosh Kumar Das 1999
Image Syracuse University Art Galleries Exhibition: Mithila Painting: The Evolution of an Art Form, Jan 30 - Mar 16 2014
There is a lovely video on YouTube (link below) where I discovered the man himself talking engagingly about his life and work, his big soul shining through every word. He talks of his experience of being ‘taken over’ when painting and drawing: “the thing exists outside me … drawn in a state of emptiness, very calm, a wonderful experience”. I came away from watching the video with an inner glow, feeling relaxed and inspired - almost as though I had just emerged from a very successful meditation.
The book Black: An Artist’s Tribute is hand silkscreen-printed, available here at Tara Books for a very modest £27.00; and you can watch the YouTube video here on Kathryn Myers channel.
Thank you for reading,
A big cheery wave and best wishes to you all!
THE WEEKLY : BLOG
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland