The space created at the intersection of space, time, causality and experience can on most occasions prove to be the playground of the Muses. Somji, a veteran painter, from Cochin, is displaying his series ‘Our Concerns over Time and Space’ at Chitrakala Parishath Art Gallery until October 26.
“I like exploring metaphysical or philosophical subjects. In this exhibition, I’ve tried to look at the cultural identity crisis that we as humans are currently facing - whether it’s sexual, linguistic or anything for that matter,” says Somji who feels that situations like man’s failure in identifying with the woman is what has lead to serious issues like rapes and assault.
Somji primarily likes to work with oil, but experiments with acrylic too. “I like oil the most because it affords me more freedom than acrylic which dries up too fast. I have also been working with this new form of rubberised paint for the past five years, it’s non-toxic and fungus resistant, and runs freely. Sometimes you think as an artist you need to allow the paint itself some amount of freedom of expression,” says Somji, who has been working with oil paints for over forty years now.
His paintings bear impressions of a socially aware, politically responsible mind that’s ticking constantly to explore layers of meaning in various social situations. From an anthropological perspective, these paintings are a study of human behaviour in their social, political and economic environment and their reactions to various situations. The solo exhibition that has travelled to several cities in India has been received with much praise.
“I have been passionate about painting since childhood. I started with watercolours. But by the time I was in college, I was obsessed with oil painting,” says the self-taught artist. Somji finds his inspiration in everything around him as well as his innermost thoughts. “I’m an avid traveller too. So I try to observe and absorb as much as I can on these travels, not very consciously; it's a sub-conscious assimilation. These obviously have an effect on the way I paint and the art it finally produces,” explains Somji.