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Sitikantha Samantsinghar

My works has always been influenced by the social realities surrounding me. I have been addressing the issues related to poverty, forced labour, malnutrition and food wastage from the
formative years of my college. I have experienced such issues in my native village where disparities between such social power structures coerce the common man to become destitute.
Being raised amidst the farmer community of rural Odisha, I have heard of narratives related to
exploitation. Such exploitation by land-­‐owners/zamindars has been an inevitable reality for many poor farmers in our country. My inspiration comes from the ‘Bhaga Chashi Andolan’-­‐ a 1953 onwards peasant movement in rural Odisha led by my grandfather Dr. Nrusingh Samantasinghar.

The killing of a poor farmer named Sania triggered this movement. The land owners have long been depriving the farmers from the wages and the profits earned from the agricultural production. The movement took fight the age old malpractices and to secure the rights of the farmer. The central demand was to ensure that each and every farmer gets a percentage of the production profit for which they toil in the field around the year.

Even today the government fails to ensure social/agricultural security to the farmer which is leading to the increasing numbers of suicide within the farmer community. I metaphorically introduce certain imagery in my paintings to address these issues. I engage with such histories of oppression often merging such realities with surrealist imageries in order to lend a new voice to these issues where realities and expectation merge with each other. In my process of drawing/painting/installations I often experiment with materials and surfaces by incorporating non-­‐traditional materials such as tea leaf or smoke burns in my images. I have also been experimenting with text based installations in the recent past.

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