Narayan Chandra Sinha
Project Firelight is the culmination of a decade-long artistic journey.
Open the dilapidated gates leading to a decrepit old mansion — and you will find yourself in a fantastical world. Humongous creations of iron and metal with overgrown roots inhabit this house in Queens Park in the heart of Kolkata.
- The main thing in art is the idea, how do you catch this impulse?

- It is true, the idea behind any form of Art talks about multiple sides of that respective work. I have always had my own way of relating to this. Any particular body of work begins with a basic idea that evolves. As artists and creators, this journey is also a spiritual one. We keep on trying to approach our higher selves and connect with them. The idea gets translated through the works and we feel more at peace with the path traversed. Ideas also connect strangers in a room meant for any Arts exhibition and that's the most beautiful aspect of Art. Ideas from different places relate to each other and change their forms utilizing Art.

- What materials do you use in your work and why?

- For most of my sculptures, I use various kinds of materials. Two aspects surely need to be mentioned over here. My Arts practice involves using a lot of discarded materials, things that get rejected. This could range from parts of various metals and other objects and parts from various kinds of automobiles. This form of deconstruction gives a new sense of Life to my works since I focus on methods of Arts Practice that would take me back to the source of Nature. Emulating natural and organic forms using mechanical parts gives me a sense of transformation. Sustainability is a huge influence in my Arts practice, also being my way of giving back to Nature and respecting it through surrender. The second aspect is my affinity for using antiques to create Art. It gives me a sense of accumulating things that have passed on through generations. These could be anything and could range from commonly used objects to personal discarded memorabilia. Each of these objects has a story to tell: about the various lives which have recognized a certain sense of utility in them and how they get retold through my vision. I usually use these while capturing a certain era. Apart from this, I use watercolor and acrylic mediums for my paintings when I choose to. Each of my works has a story to tell. Usually, it's a collaboration between them and my perspectives.

- Is the modern viewer a passive contemplator or a participant in the process?

- This is very subjective. Every person has their own way of experiencing Art. The usage of more interactive mediums has surely contributed to the experience to have a more immersive sense. For Firelight, I have seen most of our viewers respond to the entire body of work with a sense of intense introspection. They have all left me messages to talk about their feelings before leaving the show. I have been fortunate enough to speak to a few of them. The global pandemic has left a lot of us quite traumatized and Art has been one of the spaces where everyone has sought refuge. Art, in today's world, functions as a soothing prayer over all the adversaries we face, and the way viewers interact with Art is an ever-growing process as well.

The artist uses his works as a range of metaphors
- How do you think it is possible to enter the history of art?

- Art from every era belongs to that particular era. We as artists keep on expressing ourselves using the basic tools available to us. At the end of the day, pure Genuity gives rise to new techniques when one wishes to express thoughts from within. It gets added to the bigger Spirit of Arts Practices and tries to assess the human condition of that particular contemporary spatial-temporal zone. Artists can really just try their best and make sure that there's a sense of honesty and urgency in their work and it is usually factors like these that navigate the pages of History.

assimilates the massive tree trunks that fell during Cyclone Amphan last year into his installations
- What is your mission as an artist?

- I have grown up with an urgency/need to make the world a more beautiful place for everybody. Naturally, this impulse has always made its way into my methods of creating something. Currently, there are a lot of trivial differences which are distancing people from each other. I wish to make everyone see themselves in another being. I want to make space for everybody and show them how beautiful the world is and how we can choose to treat it gently once we start treating each other with kindness and respect.

- Your sculptures? Why society needs them and where is their harmonious place?

- Our materialistic desires are constantly steering us away from Nature and its various forms. We have stopped respecting it as the primary source of Life. Our planet is really saturated at the moment with everything that is being discarded daily. I try to see life in these rejected pieces of scrap and emulate styles of Nature. It is the closest I can try and help our planet heal. It is imperative for us as a collective to try our best. We are too engrossed with the materialistic part inside of us, while the organic portions are left, bereft of love, acceptance, and acknowledgment. Through my works, I try to bridge this distance that human beings have created - between themselves and Nature. This is where I see my works fitting in and speaking for the source to which we all belong.

- What are your plans as an artist for the next 5 years?

- Of course, there are many plans at the moment. More than anything, I want to keep on evolving as a human being. I want to work on myself and be a better version of who I am. This will also change my way of approach as an artist. There are so many projects and shows which I have already started working on. If I get the right space and opportunity, I would like to do more shows, each of them addressing things from our society that need to be talked about. Apart from this, I want to enter the scope of public art installations. Creating something for space where thousands of strangers pass by is a fascinating idea. Each of them would relate to the work(s) through their personal stories and it will add to my own growing repository of experiences.

- Are you ready to consider new techniques for yourself, such as the transition to digital art?

- As an artist, I try to be very flexible. I surely try and keep on finding new mediums and modes to express. If I feel that my story needs to be told using digital means, I would happily adapt to that medium and adjust my usual approach., The only requirement must be honest modes of conveying the stories and do justice to them. For this, I would happily agree to slowly transition into digital art or at least incorporate it into my already existing practice.

Photograph credits
Mr.Sudeep Chatterjee
Mr.Rajesh Gupta
Mr.Subhomay Mitra