Artist InsightFeature

Surrealist Exploration

Text by Zariat Mushfique Khan

Artist Sudeepta Shikdar, while not trying to re-enact any particular established styles within his work, he believes the outcome is quite akin to surrealism. The Dhaka-based artist is originally from Kushtia, having moved to the capital to pursue his undergraduate and Master’s Degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Dhaka University (DU).

Shikdar spoke of his passion for arts and the drive that continues him on this journey, “Before I joined Charukola, my brother told me something that stuck with me for a long time. He told me ‘we can’t financially support a private education for you, you must strive to achieve what you need to and I did. ”Currently working at a government institution, the surrealist simultaneously continues to practice his passions. “I have two older brothers. My older brother was my biggest supporter behind my being admitted to Charukola. The events in my life, and the influences of my family, especially my older brother, find an outlet within my work. The impacts create variations within my work, which is why I can never believe that I am fully alone when I create something.” Traditionally, the DU graduate gravitates more towards oil paints as a medium, preferring it over acrylic. On a regular basis the artist utilizes watercolour, pen-based sketches, and glass markers. When Sudeepta Shikdar first moved to Dhaka, he found himself in a foreign environment where he had taken on the role of a fish out of water. Finding peers in a similar situation allowed him to assimilate and eventually find his footing. He later went on to say that the life he led during this period shaped who he became quite a bit.

The DU graduate often finds himself recanting the story of how he found himself as a part of a longstanding tradition. He stated, “When I tentatively went to check the admission results to see whether I had indeed passed, I noticed a small pond on the way. I saw my name on the board, I walked off and came back to check again to be sure. The second time I checked for my name, a senior came to me and asked whether I had gotten in. I said ‘yes, I did, and before I could finish that thought or process of what was happening, I found myself hoisted up by four individuals who queerly asked whether I had a phone. Once again, I found myself saying ‘yes’. After being relieved of my phone, I found myself neck-deep in the pond. It was an odd feeling, a mixture of shock, relief, and confusion. I was in shock at having been plunged in water on a cold winter’s day, relieved because I had achieved what I needed and my confusion was related to my current circumstances.”

He delved into how the subconscious mind and its grasp on the conscious mind reflect onto his canvases. Sudeepta explains that the objects within his paintings exist in reality while remaining half submerged within his imagination. “These things exist in my surrealist reality, in how I perpetually view the world.” He spoke of the influx of creativity that was generated after the isolation incurred during the pandemic. “I see a lot of activity stirring within newer artists, it’s quite the positive development that attempted to make the best of a bad situation.” While he expressed the belief that up-and-coming artists should be given more of a platform in more prominent galleries, he also does not think creativity can be held within boundaries. Sudeepta states,

“Art comes from a place that in a way cannot be taught, or replicated. Formal education on the subject isn’t necessary to pursue art. In this age of social media, art is no longer just gallery based.” 

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