Artwork of the Day: The Rajah, Sudhanshu Sutar
Delhi-based painter Sudhanshu Sutar describes this enigmatic image as the clash of India’s rich history with a modern world in which India is taking a very different character. “‘The Rajah’ looks at the bygone era of the rajah, the decadence of the Raj within the contemporary world,” says Sudhanshu. The painting is typical of Sudhanshu’s highly surrealistic style, in which the stillness and silence of the composition makes its subject ever more “a prisoner of the times,” as Sudhanshu says.
Sudhanshu’s native state of Orissa is a region with a “heritage of music, painting, architecture, poetry, all the crafts and arts together with her incomparable continuity in thought, and expression,” in the words of poet Kathleen Laine. Nonetheless, life was challenging for the aspiring artist. Sudhanshu undertook a quest to travel across Orissa on his bicycle, exploring what life looked like outside his small village of Kalikapur. With a Fine Arts degree from Utkal University in hand, he relocated to Delhi in 1994.
Sudhanshu is no stranger to expos. Among other odd jobs as he took early in his career, he formatted and painted billboards in Delhi’s Pragrati Maidan exhibition space. He received his first big break from a gallery in Japan, whose support helped Sudhansu refine his craft and build his portfolio.
Sudhanshu’s latest work is a fusion of rural, psycho-surreal imagery and tropes of survival in the big city that draw both on his Orissan roots and his time in Delhi.
Archana Gallery, located in Kuala Lumpur, specializes in Indian art in Malaysia, as well as Malaysian art. Since its founding in 2004, Archana Gallery has become an integral part of the Asian art scene, cultivating an appreciation for Indian painting among art collectors in Malaysia and across the region.