Kolkata-based artist Susmita Banerjee is reviving enamel painting with her upcoming exhibition, Unspoken
Susmita Banerjee who captures the surreal beauty of nature with enamel painting urges for the revival of the art form in India
Enamel artist Susmita Banerjee who believes it’s time we appreciate the unspoken beauty of enamel painting is fascinated by the fascinating art form. Her collection of paintings titled Unspoken that will be showcased soon in Mumbai, brings out the abstractness of nature’s beauty with the medium.
Talking about the exhibition she says, “I have often realised that despite enamel painting being very old art form the awareness or curiosity about this medium is quite low in our country. I absorb my surrounding through my conscious self and what I express through my work is the creative potential of our reality through the subconscious mind – it is something surrealistic.”
Elaborating on the uncertain nature of the art form that attracted her, Banerjee says, “The process of applying colours on steel or copper surfaces opens up fascinating possibilities. The juxtaposition of two different textures - the solidity of copper and steel surfaces and the delicate grains of colours create a magical effect resulting from the firing at high temperature. The final work acquires a depth and character as in no other medium.”
A sustainable art form, enamel painting can do wonders for outdoor designing, informs Susmita who has been involved with the art form for over two decades now. She says, “Once the process of enamelling is done, the final work is the most sustainable art form. This is the reason enamelling is used for outdoor signage, railway signals etc. But surprisingly, it has not gained popularity as an art form for outdoors but enamel murals can do wonders for outdoor designing. Similarly, enamel painting can be done for wearables (ancient artisans used to use this form to create the glossy, stone-like effect in their metal jewellery), curios, vases etc.” However, she points out that some colour contains lead and can be hazardous and hence they are banned in the US and the UK.
Talking about the age-old technique’s popularity in India, Susmita says, “There is evidence of usage of enamel in ancient Egypt and India as well. But, except for JJ School of Arts, Mumbai and in Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, enamelling is not included in any of the syllabi. I have personally done workshops at Visva-Bharati University and Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata; and can say from my experience that if our art students can be encouraged to learn and explore this beautiful medium, we will see the revival of this form.”
At Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai from June 11 to 17.