Ways of Seeing: Sketches and Paintings by Prosenjit Roy
Another Subcontinent presents sketches and paintings by Prosenjit Roy. This exhibition will be featured on the site till October 10, 2006 and will be archived thereafter in the "visual" features section (see links at left).
To view this exhibition click on the thumbnails on the right. Each will open a larger image in this center window. To view a fresh set of thumbnails click on the gallery links; to return to this introduction click on "front". Copyright for all images is retained by the artist and these images may not be used, disseminated or displayed without his permission.
After viewing these galleries we invite you to visit our Visual Arts forum to discuss your own responses to this exhibition.
Prosenjit Roy on Prosenjit Roy
In a previous life, I used to take for granted my ability to draw or paint, and was training to be a maxillofacial surgeon. Facial surgeons perform miracles on the human face, and I knew this since childhood. One of my cousins had his cleft lip and palate repaired, and he is a college professor now! My parents taught how to wield scalpels in scrub suits. It was kind of natural for me to gravitate towards aesthetic surgery, even though I was never under any kind of pressure. Dentistry is the best way to begin this training. I graduated at the top of my class and began my residency in Calcutta, shuttling between the plastic, oral and maxillofacial units (MFU) of a state-run hospital. Later, I obtained a Fellowship in a similar unit in the south of England (West Sussex) to continue with my training. But I could sense that my true art was seeping away all the time, finding second-hand manifestation in things like stick diagrams on clinical notes. A typical maxillofacial residentís day consisted of the highs of holding retractors against throbbing carotid vessels and the lows of plucking wobbly lower incisors. In between I spent my time stitching up defeated pub-fighters, greeting choppers at the A&E, and endlessly running between wards at the beck and call of a myriad beepers clinging to my body. It was a fun-filled life but I had no time to paint, or even think about it.
Then came the annual cancer patientsí meet when everyone was supposed to do something for the department. I found myself an empty wall, an official funding of 21 pound-sterling to buy paints and brushes, a quick education on acrylic paints from a book in a paint shop, and painted a 9 ft by 4 ft mural. I worked during weekends when I wasnít on call. Others complimented me on the work, surprised to find a white-coated muralist in the MFU, but I could sense that my gift was on the wane. I realized that the muse of art, whom I had always taken for granted and thus ignored, was finally beginning to walk out of my life.
When I returned to India, my thoughts were in a big turmoil. I continued to work in clinics and theatres during the day and painted during the night. The internet was my teacher on the many technical aspects of painting. Ultimately, a decision had to be taken; I had to stop living this dual life. I gave up my white coat.
My first exhibition, a solo, was in the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. I received a fair review and experienced the first pangs of parting company with my creations. Now, this has become my life and I love it despite its many uncertainties. The muse of art now happily lives in my studio!"