Shyamal Mukherjee was born in Calcutta in 1961 and trained in Shantiniketan, completing his Bachelors in Fine Arts in 1987 and his Masters in 1989 from the Rabindra Bharati University.
His work reflects the Bengal School’s strong figurative tradition, interpreted in a contemporary way. “Most of my inspiration comes from observing people”, he says, and he loves to travel alone to new places on buses and trains. This is reflected in the subject matter of Shyamal’s paintings. Most of the people in his paintings are performers of some type, putting on an act for the audience around them. They are dressed in bright colours that are common to Bengali street performers, but their eyes are gazing, their faces drawn, their fingers podgy and in their entirety, almost cartoon-like – making the irony and pathos that surrounds them evident to the viewer. He also likes to paint people in pairs or larger groupings, to highlight that while physically separate and different from each other we all ultimately have a great deal in common with those around us.
Shyamal’s favoured medium is reverse oil or acrylic painting on transparent acrylic sheets. “The concept of doing art work on glass came to me while I was studying painting. I just started it with a curiosity of developing a work of art on the reverse side of the glass. And it was quite a satisfying experience of seeing the stage-by-stage development of the work. Now that curiosity has become a challenge for me. I use colour and imposition of forms in my pieces of art to achieve a variety of compositions.”
Shyamal lives and works in Calcutta.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
- Galleria, New Delhi (2009-10)
- Art ‘N’ Soul, New Delhi (2006)
Selected Group Exhibitions
- ‘The Human Psyche’, Galleria, New Delhi (2008)
- ‘Art from Bengal’, Art Elements Gallery, New Delhi (2008)
- Galleria, Mumbai (2001, 2000)
- Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Mumbai (2001, 2000, 1999, 1996), Kolkata (2001, 1999, 1991)
- Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Mumbai (2001, 2000, 1999, 1997)
- Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (1999, 1997, 1991, 1990)
- Art Today, New Delhi (1999)
- Pegasus Art Gallery, New Delhi (1999)
- Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (1998)
- Vinyasa Art Gallery, Chennai (1999, 1998)
- ArpanaCaur’s Art Gallery, New Delhi (1997)