January 31−August 2
AN awe-inspiring mural from renowned Indian graphic artist and designer Orijit Sen is making its home at the Surrey Art Gallery for six months.
“From Punjab, with Love” is a digital reproduction of Sen’s famous 75-metre-long fibreglass and acrylic mural at the Moshe Safdie-designed Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum in Anandpur Sahib, India. The Surrey Art Gallery is presenting a nearly 10-metre-long digital print that represents this astonishing tableau of Sikh and Punjabi history done in a highly detailed miniature style.
Long considered the gateway to the Indian subcontinent, the Punjab is a vast geographical area with a long and storied history. Sen’s epic mural renders this culturally rich region in compelling ways that blend busy human populated landscapes with a diverse natural world of flora and fauna that is increasingly under threat from modernization. The mural “From Punjab, with Love” blends history and the everyday with festivals, weddings, women washing clothes, shopping, cooking; men ploughing the fields, tying turbans, riding motorcycles; children flying kites, enjoying school life, playing sports—a panorama of traditional and modern Punjabi life.
Sen writes about the inspiration for the mural: “The parallel realities of the past and the present seem to bring to their [Punjabis’] everyday existence a special something: a sense of life that is lived in the here and now, of joys and sorrows that are experienced and expressed without reservation; something that remains open-hearted and generous, and laughs in the face of troubles. It is a special something that I have set out to capture through my artworks, which I hope serve at the very least as a reflection and affirmation of the irrepressible, indomitable Punjabi spirit.”
Sen studied graphic design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. He is considered one of India’s first graphic novelists with River of Stories published in 1994 and often works in a miniature style combined with his own distinct graphic style. Sen has done several exhibitions and museum design projects in India, the United Kingdom, and Russia and is a co-founder of People Tree, a centre for design, crafts and sustainable living based in Delhi.
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Indian Summer Arts Society, with support from the Province of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.