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Mermaids, lifeboat, life of fishermen community – Artist Santosh Kumar Sahni

The Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai is exhibiting novel and un-seen modern artworks for the show ‘Basant- Expression of Art’ by Delhi-based artist Santosh Kumar Sahni, hailing from the Mallah fishing community of Darbhanga, Bihar. Mumbaikars can take a look at these masterpieces from 23rd March -29th March at Jehangir Art Gallery, Kalaghoda, Mumbai. Don’t miss it, if modern art is what intrigues you! The artist has put up this first exhibition of paintings in Mumbai that depicts fishermen through socio-economic lenses. The paintings are thus based on the classic, dark realities of his world and number of experiences of fisherman’s life which he has closely witnessed since childhood. The show makes a strong statement on water conservation, through the vibrant Mithila colour strokes. The show ‘Basant- Expression of Art’ is on from 23rd March till 29th March at Jehangir Art Gallery, Kalaghoda, Mumbai.

The inauguration saw noted personalities from art scene like Businessman & Art Collector Parvez Damania, Eminent Artist Prithvi Soni, and Ajoykaant Ruia, Chairman- Allstate Group. Parvez Damania shared, ‘What I found interesting and a common factor between the exhibition and Parsis is that we also love fish, and find it auspicious. The knowledge about the artist and the community which he belongs to was an eye opener and also the concept of water conservation is also nicely explained through the artwork’.

Ajoykant Ruia said, ‘The works are beautiful, the color schemes are reminiscent of Mithila painting making them unique and I wish he would continue doing this good work.’

“The subject of my painting is based on fisherman and their socio-economic, socio-cultural life. I find myself at ease with these subjects as being from a fisherman family. I have had number of experiences of fisherman’s life which reflects in my paintings, these experiences enriched me as a person”, says the artist Santosh Kumar Sahni from Bihar.

In this show, ‘Basant- Expression of Art’, the mermaid, fisherwoman and their lives which exist in his paintings are nothing but his muse which is composed of woman and fish, which are very attractive, and fickle in nature. The boat and fishing net of fisherman is just not means of earning but have importance beyond description.

Some of the notable works to watch out for are, ‘Gajgamini’, ‘Shakti’, ‘Lifeboat’, ‘Kashti’, ‘Janani’, ‘Sneh’ and more. The artist says, “My paintings are not just brush strokes or blend of colours on canvas. But it is a convenient medium for me to establish, harmony, increase love, sacrifice, peace, beauty, spirituality and creative development in all the strata of society. I closely observed and encountered the various experience of life, truth, ugliness of these fishermen society. I felt the pangs of their hardships and Joy of their spirits, their struggles to make both ends meet. Despite life snatching struggle, they adapt themselves to every situation of life or seasons like sultering and scorching heat, downpour, cold etc. They survive with pride by defeating man- made or destiny- made hurdles. They earn their bread & butter through various means like fisheries, Makhana (fox nuts) production and many other works”.

Beauty of mermaid is incredible and looks like a nymph; on the other hand fisherman appears rigid and rough. He further adds, “My subjects also show the contradictions of this world and all the universal elements whether the life of man, mermaid or someone else. Somehow, every living being is striving for to prove his existence. I have made efforts to reflect rural life as well as to address the problem of urban life. My journey of colour and brush, also includes the urban-public life issues with subtleness on the subject namely absolution, spiritual realization and surreal fantasy”. 

His works have been exhibited in the past in several notable group shows in countries like Australia, Bangkok, Canada, Los Angeles, Nepal, France, New York, San Jose and Moscow.

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