Born in Digboi, Assam, Ashim Purkayastha is one among India’s most skilled and eclectic contemporary artists, whose works are socially and politically conscious. His artistic engagement with the so-called ‘Father of India’ Mahatma Gandhi, for which he was accused of “iconographic mockery”, became remarkably sensational. Purkayastha has worked since 2002 on the series Gandhi Man without Specs, which in the meantime has gained particular fame.
‘In a way navigating a city to retrieve the traces of one’s journey is an allegorical journey. The works turns out to be a journeyman’s diary. And as in a personal anecdote, objects inflect spaces as nodal points, as pointers do in a map. The maps then grow wings and grow temporal, find fissures, the fissures where time is out of joint and reside there.’ This passage from the catalogue essay Traces upon the City, by Anshuman Dasgupta, recalls Ashim’s works in a preferred poetic manner, works which deserves more than dry analytical dissections of the critique’s impressions.
The artist lives and works in New Delhi.