About Arjun Das’ practice
In my artistic practice, I explore the narratives of migrant laborers and their transition from village to urban landscapes. My immersive experience in a small restaurant gave me the opportunity to intimately observe their lifestyles and societal dynamics. This critical juncture in my journey allowed me to witness firsthand the complex tapestry of migration where economic factors predominantly drove individuals from marginalized communities to leave everything behind in pursuit of better livelihood.
My artistic exploration takes me back to the spaces where these migrant laborers once thrived. Employing sculptural processes, I intervene in domains I was once a part of, peering into the behavior of objects within kitchens, washrooms, markets, and beyond. An enigmatic interplay of disparate data from these spaces takes shape, and through irrational juxtaposition, they are shifted from their mundane contexts to the periphery of my artistic expression. I employ the technique of relief work onto my chosen medium of found wood as I found artistic merit in repurposing discarded materials from the very sites I once frequented. Using common objects in my artwork, I engage with archival carving techniques using visual references from Indian cave architecture to portray the historic recurrence of political power oppressing the working-class, inviting viewers to contemplate the intricacies of migration, economic disparity, and the human spirit’s indomitable will to thrive amidst challenges.
Born in 1994 in Giridih, Jharkhand, Arjun Das studied at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, where he completed a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts with a specialization in sculpture (2015, 2017). Arjun’s solo shows include Land of the Leal at Dhi Artspace, Hyderabad (2023) and Traces at Museum Forum SchlossPlatz, Switzerland (2019). He has also presented his work in many group exhibitions, including An Unlocated Window of Myself, Gallery Dotwalk, New Delhi (2022); Metaphor: The Magic It Holds at Dhi Artspace, Hyderabad (2020); Persistence of Memory, Art Positive, New Delhi (2019) and Perspecta 17, Gallery Kolkata (2017). He has participated in many residency programs, including FLACC Workplace Art Residency, Belgium (2022), Emami Art Residency, Kolkata (2021), Arbeitsgruppe Gästeatelier Krone, Switzerland (2019), and Piramal Art Residency, Mumbai (2019). He also participated in the Young Subcontinent project, Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa (2018). He has received the National Scholarship of the Hyundai Art for Hope Grant (2022), Cima Annual Show (2019), Ministry of Culture, India (2018), Abir India Ahmedabad (2018), and Birla Annual Exhibition, Kolkata (2017).
Arjun lives and works in Kolkata, West Bengal.