Toying with Gandhi
14th August – 15th September, 2021
The Pop Artist of our generation, Debanjan Roy is a visual artist and sculptor based in Madhyamgram, India. Know for his sarcastic, tongue in cheek portrayal of the figure of Gandhi, for this exhibition, he presents a series of Gandhi’s toy-like fibreglass sculptures. Further, for his bronze series, Roy takes the figure of Gandhi and merges it with the everyday tasks performed by us to present this odd juxtaposition as fine art.
“Gandhi is perhaps the most overused political icon.
He has become a veritable toy, used to fulfill vested interest.”
– Debanjan Roy
Out of all the icons of the past, the celebrity status of the Mahatma has been unparalleled. The sculptures in the series subtly reference numerous political campaigns and slogans. Roy’s aim is to showcase and discuss the happenings of our country.
Gandhi has been a recurring theme in his work for over a decade now. For Roy, the figure of Gandhi lends him the opportunity to question the iconization and appropriation of the Mahatma for personal interests by politicians and media alike.
The fibreglass and bronze sculpture in the series are both a homage and a critique of the capitalist society we live in. The existence of the works itself is a commentary on the society and on us, the audience of this exhibition.
Over the past decade and more, Debanjan Roy has developed across the body of his work what might be called an aesthetic of edgy playfulness to draw attention to the misappropriations and over-appropriations of the Mahatma’s image in the production of Brand Gandhi.
– Sumathy Ramaswami, Professor of History, Duke University
Debanjan Roy (b. 1975) lives and works in Kolkata, India. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts (Sculpture) from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, in 1998, and Masters in Visual Arts (Sculpture) from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, in 2000. Some of his recent solo shows include toying with Gandhi, Akar Prakar, 2019; Metamorphosis, Akar Prakar, New Delhi and France, 2015; Waste Side Story, Akar Prakar, Kolkata, 2014; The Altar of Convenience, Aicon Gallery, New York, 2011; Altar of Convenience, Aicon Gallery, New York, 2013; Looking for Bapu, Akar Prakar, Ahmedabad and Kolkata, 2010.
Debanjan has participated in several group shows including Sightings: Out of the wild, KNMA Noida, 2019; Seattle Art Museum, USA; Bangladesh Art Biennale, Dhaka, 2013; Vermont Studio Centre Residency Open Studio show, Johnson, USA, 2011 and 2012; Enduring Legacy, Berlin and Munich, Germany; Reprise Aicon Gallery, London; Masterpieces of Indian Art – North Carolina, Aicon, and Dalip and Monica Awasthi; and Who has seen Mr. Gandhi? at Tangerine, Bangalore, 2010, to name a few. Among the residencies he has attended include Chateau De La Napoule, Nice, under the Asiatic Museum, Nice, France, in collaboration with Akar Prakar, India, 2016.
He has been awarded the Navonmesha Puraskar by Lath Sarvoday Trust, Kolkata 2005; Nirman Art Award, Kolkata, 2004; Lalit Kala Akademi Scholarship, New Delhi 2002; Junior Fellowship, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Govt. of India, among other honours.