Sujata Bajaj | Peregrination of Colour

Published on the Saffronart Blog on October 9 2013.

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The Last Bird (detail), 2005, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit: http://artradarjournal.com/2011/12/13/words-in-art-how-indian-born-sujata-bajaj-uses-sanskrit-on-canvas/

London: The word ‘peregrination’ makes complete sense when seen in the context of Sujata Bajaj’s new series- Peregrination of Colour, showing at Indigo Blue Art Gallery, Singapore. A quick glance at a dictionary clarifies the meaning of the word, which means ‘to walk or travel over’. Bajaj infuses her canvas with colour in such a dynamic way, that the hues literally travel all over the canvas, leading the eye across its expanse.

Bajaj’s relationship with colours has seen a lot of different influences. Originally hailing from Rajasthan, where colours are the celebratory essence of day-to-day living, her life journey landed her to embrace diverse traditions. Bajaj graduated from SNDT College, Pune in Art and Painting, before going on to pursue a PhD in Indian tribal art, where the focus of her thesis was on tribal art and its influence on contemporary art. After completion of her doctorate, through the patronage of S. H. Raza, Bajaj was awarded a scholarship by the French government and attended the prestigious École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

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Peregrination of Colour, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit: http://www.artalivegallery.com/artists.php?page=3&cat=artists&scat=42&show_display=&show_work=true#3

From every step in her journey, Bajaj picked up aesthetic components so as to form a unique pastiche, where Occidental modernism fused with Indian visual language of tribal art.

…in the ochre yellow and red palette, we are recalled into the ritual circle of sacrifice; a hero-stone, a tribal totem, a lost goddess of fertility is suggested by certain motifs; and in the elegant calligraphy of the sacred texts, the hymns repeated until the pitch of perfection has been achieved.- Ranjit Hoskote

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Ascent, 2005, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/auctions/PostWork.aspx?l=2278

Though currently based in Paris, Bajaj amalgamates an underlying profound ethnicism into her art practice. From incorporating texts from Sanskrit documents like the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata, to paying homage to the sacrosanctity of colours. Bajaj elaborates:

For me, red is everything. It has passion, it has violence, it has energy, it has love and aggression, it is the colour of divinity in India. Red is saffron; it is the colour of meditation. As a colour, it has so much power. In India, it is connected to marriage, because we wear red when we marry. Red carries all the meanings of life.

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Untitled, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/auctions/PostWork.aspx?l=8396

Perhaps this is why the colours occupy such a strong pivotal focus in her work. She offsets the colours with bold black lines intrepidly traversing the frame. Far from being meditative, Bajaj’s canvases pulsate with the energy of the vibrant hues she uses. At the same time, they are controlled by the deliberate strokes of the neutral blacks and whites.

Bajaj will be present on the exhibition preview on 10 October, from 6.30 to 9 pm to sign copies of her coffee table book, L’Ordre du monde.

The show is on view from the 10th October till the 22nd November 2013. This will be Bajaj’s first solo exhibition in Singapore.

For more information, please access the gallery website.

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