By Shubhangi Shah
Since Covid-19 has come to define a large part of our lives today, the pandemic took centre stage at the ongoing Indian Art Fair in the national capital too. Artist Sudipta Das’ Home is one such piece of art. Her artwork features over 1,000 human figurines stuffed inside a structure in the shape of a house and made of stainless steel. “As the pandemic hit, suddenly, the home became the most important space for everyone,” says Das, adding: “At that time, I was bed-ridden too, due to pregnancy-related issues. So, for me, my room became my whole world.” Both these culminated into the idea that is Home.
On why the figurines were stuffed together with no space between them, Das says it was to represent how homes had become overloaded as everyone was stuck there 24/7. “That’s why I stuck the figurines on top of one another,” she says. If you look closely, you can spot figures holding suitcases, umbrellas, etc. “They represent people going back to their villages,” the artist explains. Not just that, you won’t spot repetitive figures. They hold different expressions, wear different clothes, and exude different energies. “That’s because they are individuals with individual characters, clothes, and cultures,” Das explains, adding that she looked at the whole concept globally.
All of these 1,000 figures are stuffed inside a home-shaped structure, with no walls or roof. “I could have included them,” she says, adding: “But it represents that although the whole world was open for us, we could not go outside.”
Paper features prominently in Das’ work spanning 11 years. “Using paper itself is a language of my work,” she says. She has chosen it as it’s a fragile medium. You can crumble and wash it in any way. “Technically, it helps,” she says. And conceptually, we get to know everything through paper, the artist explains further.
It took Das and her team four to five months to complete the artwork. And it has as many layers as one can think of. It’s safe to say that in Home, Das has condensed multiple facets of the pandemic into one composite unit.