From the exhibition 'Quiet Conversations from the Courtyard'
Ashvita Art Gallery, Chennai
Curated by Rekha Rodwittiya

An October Morning

‘….and we know  we  aren’t ready for answers or for the hearts cries, as a web of light is flung across those dim places of the body where we hate to hide again.”
Jayanta Mahapatra

There is a faint thread of hope that runs through the underlying darkness in Jayanta Mahapatra’s poems, which finally sews the spirit together – comes through in strength. 

I liken my art practice to finding a path in a forest, often covered with years of neglect, that one begins to clear while walking down it. The forest and the desert are both spaces absent of clear paths. In such spaces one feels that an awareness of the self can come to a searcher at any moment, and anywhere. Through the path of making a painting, through  manifestations and rejections, I eke out my communication, with myself, and through this, open the possibility of a deeper, more fulfilling, communication with another.

Painting always demands that it is spoken to, addressed, only with the soul – the truth. Like in a jig-saw, I often shuffle and shift imagery, through the process of placing, discarding and contemplating, working towards a greater sincerity, a well-chewed idea that finally has something to say. Life and art are so intertwined that behavior patterns enmeshed beyond recognition, and therefore scrutiny, can be absolutely visible and easily traced in ones methodology of painting. What interests me is the kind of light ones art practice throws on ones inner life.

An R.E.M track has the words ‘Catch a fool in company on his own he’d rather be.’, and the writer Kwame Gyekye writes, in the essay on African ethics, on the Stanford University web site on Philosophy, that one is only a ‘person’ in society: in relation to other people. Growing up in a truly nuclear family, without siblings, my choice of making Baroda my base and being a part of a very close knit collective of friends is a deliberate one.  Isolation holds no romance for me, being as it was, a huge part of my growing up years- by virtue of being the only child aboard the ships that my parents sailed on. Often what we search for in the near or distant future, or in the lost past, is right under our noses, like the desire for the right way to be, which would make deeper friendship and deeper love possible. The stillness needed for contemplation is what I look for in my work, a stillness which allows me to compress time and wander through disparate experiences drawing parallels and patterns.