PAULA SENGUPTA: Born 1967, Paula is a visual artist, academician, and writer, who is equally at ease working with different forms of expression such as painting, printmaking, installation and site specific performance work. Her works combine the influence of theatre and performance with the pedagogy of Shantiniketan and her experience of teaching theatre costume design. These varied influences lend a postmodern character to her work as she seamlessly combines art, text, design, performance and history while transcending different hierarchies. Educated in painting and print making at the college of art, New Delhi and at Kala Bhavan Santiniketan, Paula has a doctorate in the history of indian print making from Vishva Bharati Santiniketan. Her repertoire includes broadsheets, artist's books, art objects, installation performance work, and community art projects. Her works are largely in the genre of the authobiographical narrative and addresses issues of feminist concern. She lives and works from Kolkata.
Her works focus predominantly on feminine concerns. She approaches her subject with compassion and empathy while keeping them rooted in the everyday concerns of the urban women thereby making it easier for the viewer to identify with her work. Her works make use of autobiographical narratives as she delves into her life and upbringing to deal with bourgeois values and questions of the female domestic space. For example in No.8, Shorts Baazar/#8 Short Street she uses her mother-in-law's home, a 100-year-old Victorian mansion steeped in heritage. Apart from the politics of conservation and heritage management she focuses on the lives of seven women who lived across generations in this house. Through contradictory personal histories she questions the patriarchal domains of westernisation that the educated Bengali class (the Bengali Bhadralok) adhered to. Her choice of material is of particular importance to the significance of the works. Everyday objects, lacework, crochet etc become metaphors to refer to bourgeois values where even educated women were taught 'womanly' skills such as sewing, laying tables, making tea and flower arrangements.
She completed her B.F.A in painting from College of Art, New Delhi( 1989), M.F.A in Printmaking, Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan(1992) and Ph.D in printmaking, Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan (2000).
She has exhibited extensively in India and U.K and has also delivered lectures on many topics especially printmaking in various universities and institutes across the world.
She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Graphics (Printmaking), Faculty of Visual Arts, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.
She won the Charles Wallace research grant for independent research in the U.K (2007). She was the guest artist at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Stuttgart, Germany (2000) and was an artist in residence at the Kala Art institure, Berkely, U.S.A (1997- 98).