True to a proverb that says ‘a wise man does not have proper recognition in his area,’ this Siliguri resident is also a fitting example of a Bengali saying ‘Geyo Yogi Bhik Payna.’
Meet Biplab Sarkar, who was in Scotland for three months for his creative work, and who recently returned to Delhi, where he has established himself as an artist after a long struggle since his school days.
Mr Sarkar, 28, a former student of the Siliguri Baradakanta Vidyapith, says he has not looked backed ever since he has been selected to receive the Glenfiddich International Artists Residency award as an emerging artist of the year 2018.
“Significantly, my artwork was re-coloured in a Kali Puja pandal in Siliguri some time ago, but I did not bother to protest,” says Mr Sarkar, who is in town to celebrate the Pujas. He says he will return to Delhi after Bhai Phonta, which falls on Friday.
Mr Sarkar was chosen as an emerging artist of the year 2018 in March this year after an exhibition of the top five finalists’ works, whose names were shortlisted from nearly 2,500 participants across the country.
He represented India in Scotland as part of the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence programme, where he worked for three months at the Glenfiddich Distillery with a group of eight artists from around the world.
Mr Sarkar, who dreamed to be an artist and wanted to continue his studies in an art college, completed his BA degree in History from the Bagdogra KGTM college. After that, he had to earn his livelihood as an art teacher in private schools in Siliguri and he finally left for Santiniketan on guidance from his art teacher here.
“Only a mad man can make himself an artist after struggling hard and even without food for half a day due to paucity of support. If I can do something, why don’t you take the risk in your life,” his teacher told him once when he was in a dilemma over his future studies, he recalls.
He finally appeared in an examination for admission in Santiniketan and his dream came true after he qualified as a student of Kala Bhawan in Viswa Bharati University.
Later, as he decided to leave Santiniketan to build for himself a “brighter career,” he qualified for admissions in the Delhi University for Masters, where he says he faced acute financial crunch and could not manage admission fees amounting to around Rs 26,000.
“My English teacher, who loved me, helped me a lot by providing part of the admission fees for the Delhi University,” Mr Sarkar recalls.
Mr Sarkar hung around with his old friends in a forest area on the banks of the river Sahu in Siliguri on Diwali.
Mr Sarkar, who works on water colour, got a significant break in his life from India Gate in Delhi where he started working on several hawkers and their struggles and hardworking lifestyle.
“I did not prefer to showcase the misery of the life of hawkers, but tried to portray their joys and sorrows,” Mr Sarkar said. He later worked in Scotland on manufacturing of drums for storing whisky and presented a series of paintings on them with a “natural sound effect,” which was much appreciated there.