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All About Art

SANJAY ROY, Artist and Teacher at Triveni Kala Sangam

A New Delhi native, Sanjay Roy was born and brought up in the capital of India and his parents worked as stage artists. His inclination towards art was evident at a very young age and was fueled by his parent’s vocation.

Whilst in conversation, Sanjay spoke of his artworks in ‘Back to Earth’ saying,

“My series of Mixed Media & Acrylic on Canvases are an aesthetic expression visually depicting the collision of chaos with spirituality. While economical, political, relationship, social chaos, etc. mark the attributes of the fast-paced world that we live in today, we still seek or often express the desire for a saviour be it Christ, Buddha or the Prophet.

In this world of chaos today, if pure souls choose to take birth here, they won’t look like what we picture them to be or those that we see in the images ubiquitously; curly hair on the head and covered in a robe. Instead, they will just look like one of us; with contemporary attire and similar modern-day appliances. However, their actions and deeds will be unique to them. Their mouths will speak words which they were taught 1000 of years ago. In this current world, we need their spiritual law of success, which is almost like virtual reality, a toolkit for the 21st-century spiritual traveller.”

“The ‘voice’ and movement that this artist creates are vis-à-vis the consciousness of freedom, about knowing what you are doing so that you can do what you really want. His painted bodies are designed to simply highlight this or that life function, physical as well as psychic, that is as to how one holds feelings and thoughts in one being; awareness as to what happens to our being on the subtlest levels when a movement is performed or even when there is an intention to perform it; awareness about the compulsive way of acting and moving and being on the world stage; awareness of other possibilities which are often easier and more pleasurable. All this done to develop the freedom to make choices as a person and as a character.”

“I am trying to create a visual language of my own.”

Sanjay’s artworks, therefore, become a meeting ground of figurative and non-figurative expression, which explores the idea of subjecting the self to rigours upon the anvil. Here, the figure is incidental and the focus of the painting that appears nearly camouflaged behind a busy network of lines and colours.

Sanjay’s work undeniably nudges the viewer to put himself on an introspective and retrospective journey simultaneously. In the on-going chaos, he also leaves out threads of solitude and solace that could be held on to while the viewers immerse themselves in colour chaotic patterns, almost depicting life itself. The figures and the expressions, therefore, resonate deeply. One may perceptibly be able to hear but alas, there is no sound; however, there are visual symbols.

“These of Roy’s dramatis personae thereby are both final portrayals as also celebrations; they survive in our minds’ eye by silent but sure ways in changing with each fresh look at them. And they may command assent from the prospective viewer by adherence to the truth of all creative inventions.”


- Keshav Malik

Sanjay Roy continues his art journey not only practising it but also guiding senior art students in the Art Department at Triveni Kala Sangam since 1994. From 1987, he has participated in several national and international exhibitions. His first solo show ‘Self and the World’ was exhibited at Triveni Art Gallery in 1993 followed by ‘Freeze Frame’ at Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi in 2001. His latest solo show was displayed by Arushi Arts at Shridharani Gallery in 2007. Sanjay was also invited for the New York Biennial.

A senior fellow with the Government of India, Sanjay Roy has received a junior fellowship as well as a national scholarship from the Ministry of Culture. In addition to his art practice, he has also made several art films; one of his short films won the Best Film Award in 2019. He currently acts as the Advisor of Art for the Government of India.

Submerged in the platonic chaos, Sanjay’s body of artworks have a depth of unnecessary tension and is capable of moving freely on the canvas space. He amply captures the humanistic essence looking for a higher and deeper meaning as possessing the capacity to move effortlessly and joyously within the societal milieu, a place where one is subjected to critical viewing. Humans are naturally inhibited and are also inevitably tugged at two ends because of our conscience; this essence is truly and most humbly captured in Sanjay’s artworks.

Sanjay’s works are thus a humane amalgamation of mobility and sound. He manages to unify and integrate the body, the voices, the thoughts and the emotions; in the same ensemble, the true focus is on everything, on the total living space. The quest is much deeper and holistic than it appears, leaving all those who choose to delve into it with an honest understanding of the fabric of life and its yearning.

Image by Kelly Sikkema
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