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Bio

JAYASHREE CHAKRAVARTY

Born 1956 in Khowai, Tripura, India.
Lives and works in Kolkata, India.

In a career spanning over three decades, Jayashree Chakravarty has placed environmentalism at the core of her concerns. Underscoring the grave risk that human encroachment and rapid urbanization pose to natural habitats, the artist draws from her lived experiences in the rapidly urbanizing suburb of Kolkata that she calls home. Chakravarty reminds us that the earth is approaching a precarious edge where the threat of daily damage has taken on precipitous dimensions.

In Chakravarty’s recent artworks, she presents a repository of her personal collection of twigs, leaves, flowers, seeds, and other natural detritus. When illuminated from behind, they take on the quality of amber, evincing a strategy of preservation and veneration as a way to combat the inevitable sense of loss embodied by the materials. The assembly of vegetal substances in dense layers of paper suggests both the passage of time and nature’s regenerative potential. Through poetic evocations, Chakravarty's practice highlights the need for environmental healing and resurrection.

Jayashree Chakravarty was born in Khoai, Tripura in 1956. She completed her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Viswa Bharati in the sprawling natural environs of Santiniketan, and then obtained her postgraduate diploma in Fine Arts from the MS University of Baroda, where she was exposed to an urban sensibility. She was also an artist in residence at Aix en Provence from 1993-95, where she was influenced in the formative years of her practice by the French movement Supports/Surfaces, especially by Claude Viallat.

 

She spent her early years in Kolkata, in the proximity of hills and forests thereby coming across a variety of flora and fauna. Soon, the township became a concrete jungle, with few traces of the natural past left behind. This influenced her paintings, where the old and new cityscapes are melded with a fine expertise. An occasional bird, a broken window, or a brick wall emerge out of the mossy hue and mouldy texture of some of the works.

 

Inventing her own art making techniques, using organic material and varied kinds of papers, her installations in the form of paper scrolls remain unique in their conceptions and execution. Her works are autobiographical and dream-like in nature. Her ink on paper sketches are exercises in transition and transform personal experience into mystical truth. She experiments with an exciting variety of media like rice paper, tissue and cellophane. In her works, she uses superimposed forms, quite like the sketches that cave painters worked on before they mapped them on the walls of caves. Her imagery, because of her fluid and transparent images, reflect the present mood of the world, which is fluid in itself. At a mere conventional and figurative level, her works reflect the unity of man with nature. Motifs such as dogs, waves and serried crescent shapes recur in her works.

 

She received the Gujarat Lalit Kala Akademi Award and the Second Bharat Bhavan Biennale Award in 1988. She has also been honoured with Bombay Art Society Award, Mumbai (1980) and Honourable Mention Award, Asian Art Biennial, Dhaka, Bangladesh (1997) to name a few. The artist lives and works in Kolkata.