Born 1970, Orissa, India
Lives and works in New Delhi
My work is more about connections – it is about transposing the experience of migration and transition. For me work happens instinctively. What interests me is the overall issues in local surroundings and the unanswered questions have always intrigued me. I am very aware of the fragility of coexistence and the fact that sometimes physical and emotional spaces act like quicksand. Jagannath Panda 1
Through his art, Jagannath Panda reconciles many of our most fundamental contradictions. The dichotomies of Nature/Culture, Urban/Rural, Traditional/Contemporary and Figuration/Abstraction find both expression and resolve within Jagannath Panda‘s paintings and sculptures. Remarkably, the artist usually incorporates these oppositional scenarios into a single unified whole, subtly fused by the deft handling of colours and compositions. A personal aesthetic sensibility functions as both balancing device and interrogating agent. In a single work, Jagannath Pandaposits the existence of stylized gods, culled from the palm leaf manuscripts of his ancestral Orissa, within the skyscraper apartment blocks of the burgeoning, newest India. His Realism believes in the existence of Fantasy.
Social and environmental issues also concern Jagannath Panda, his subjects are found on the front page of today’s newspaper and in his own backyard. The commonplace object is given symbolic stature, asked to represent communities, aspirations or even dogmas. The juxtaposition of diverse materials in a single work enables the artist to speak with multiple voices. Collage and assemblage are divorced from their Surrealist patrimony and function as both memory and mirror, storing preconceived meanings and reflecting a contradictory reality.
Animals play an important role in the artist’s vocabulary. Never anthropomorphic, birds and beasts represent the human condition but also a continuum of life. These are the actors in Panda’s morality play, his dramatic staging of an enchanted universe on to which modern rationality has only the most tenuous hold.