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Artist of the Month (January) – Debangana Banerjee

Jan 15, 2021 | Artscape | 4 comments

Debangana’s works are about her journey through life—memories of the past, experiences of the present and premonitions of the future—and how that journey, through its changing landscapes and human characters, generates images that she call inscapes. Her subjects arise from very personal experiences and get fermented in her imagination to project an inner vision. Debangana creates deep intimate spaces, transitional moments of conscious and unconscious thoughts using both natural and personal imageries. In this endeavor, dark, solid and earthly colors and robust textures play a big role. Debangana employs printmaking, painting, collage and poetry to express her mental state.

Debangana’s education and growing up in India have as much influence on her art as does her life in Louisiana and in Texas. The philosophy of the India’s national poet Rabindranath Tagore has been a constant inspiration for her—especially his view on the relationship between human beings and their natural surroundings. Debangana’s interactions and fascinations with the people and the places help her to shape her artistic productions since coming to this country.

Debangana always feel like an outsider in this country; at the same time, being a part of the local community, she also feels like an insider. The small university town of San Marcos, Texas, offers plenty of similarities with her hometown, Santiniketan, but it also provides profound contrasts in culture, language and people. From the very beginning her relationship with this place has been marked with a tension and contradictory emotions—a push of alienation and a pull of deep intimacy.

Debangana had a very similar experience in Louisiana where she lived for five years, before moving to Texas. She hopes that through her art this place will embrace her as its own, or maybe not. Debangana started her journey of self-exploration through the examination of her real and imagined relationships with space time and people. In her inscapes Debangana articulate all these different emotional tensions for the viewers.

These six works are mixed media. Debangana used her old prints (linocut, woodcut, lithograph, etching etc.) for these works. She tore the prints into pieces and made collages with them. Afterwards, she used a little oil pastel and pen and ink work on the collages. All six works represent movements and flux, symbolizing the flow of life.

Biography

Debangana Banerjee was born and raised in Santiniketan, India. She received her BFA and MFA in printmaking from Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. She was a national scholar in India before joining the MFA program at Louisiana State University in 2007. She also worked as a visual designer in Communication across the Curriculum program at LSU. Debangana has participated in many solo (Zosima Gallery, Bower-Bird-Gallery in San Marcos, Jump Start Art Gallery, San Antonio) and group exhibitions including in India, Japan, Australia, England, Canada, and the United States. Debangana published a poetry chapbook Come Back River, 2014 and  two artist’s books in 1998 and 1999 in India. Her poems (in Bengali and English) has been published in such journals as Toad Suck Review, International Poetry Review, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Prabash Bandhu, Sharad Arghya. Debangana’s Bengali short stories has been published in Onustup (a leading Bengali magazine in India) and in several Bengali literary magazines in US.

Debangana taught art classes to disabled and disadvantaged children and youths in India and is an active volunteer in social services in various organizations in India and the United States. In addition she has volunteered at LSU Union Art Gallery  and the Wittliff Collections,Texas State University-San Marcos. Debangana curated an art show “A Room of One’s Own” at the San Marcos Public Library celebrating International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019. She co-curated an art show “Shilpa: Colors of India-Pakistan-Bangladesh” at Walker’s Gallery, San Marcos (2012). Debangana organized an international poetry reading “Where Are You From?” at the San Marcos Public Library on the occasion of National Poetry Month, April, 2019. Recently Debangana has been making visual stories for children and publishing them on her YouTube channel.

Debangana is an art teacher at the Wonderland School, and teaches at “ArtSpace” at San Marcos to children and “Crossroads” (special education program for youth).

Suparno Bannerjee

Suparno Bannerjee

Suparno Banerjee is an Associate Professor of English at Texas State University specializing in science fiction, utopian/dystopian literature and film, Indian literature and culture, and postcolonial studies. He also has an interest in Russian literature. He grew up in Santiniketan, India and now resides in San Marcos, USA.

4 Comments

  1. Garrie Borden

    I enjoyed the article and the art, especially Inscapes Revisited. Debangana’s love of art, poetry and people brightens the community of San Marcos, Texas, and the world at large.

    Reply
  2. Vincent

    One of my favorite artists and poets! Lucky to help her translate her vision into words. I remember the original Inscapes. So nice to see the new merge with the old. Great work Deb! “When the lone star gets caught in the moss” is my favorite. Working on getting all your amazing art hung in our new home–

    Reply

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