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Manisha Bhattacharya

About The Artist

Artist’s Statement “We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine.” – Eduardo Galeano Perhaps we all become artists after that—such is the power of imagination. They say art suggests, and that suggestion in the Indian aesthetic tradition is the foundation of aesthetic expression. For an artist, suggestion is the quintessence of any narrative and narrative is the quest for completion. It is the moment of communication where the artists’ being, distilled from a lifetime of experiences, is offered through a creation to the ‘sahridaya’ (one of the same ‘heart’). Raku is a traditional Japanese firing style, intimately linked to Zen philosophy & the tea ceremony. During the 15th &16thcentury the Japanese aristocracy patronized the tea ceremony as a form of social interaction amongst the elite. The emperor gave a royal seal with RAKU (Raku meaning covers a gamut of emotions from enjoyment, comfort, contentment…) engraved on it to Chojiro, the reigning potter. What I do is called ‘American Raku‘– even in Japan. It was only in the 20th century that it left the shores of Japan for its westward journey. Beyond the realm of philosophy there is also the technical difference. Post firing, the pots are dunked in water in Japan. In the West they are smoked in sawdust or other combustible materials. The former is oxidation, the other reduction. The blue in the oxidation process is copper colour in reduction. Fulbright Experience My experiences as an artist-in-residence at the School of Art & Design, UWIC, Cardiff on a Charles Wallace India Trust Award in 2001 and the Fulbright Fellowship to the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, NY, USA in 2003-04 were both extremely enriching. However, I got more sustained intellectual input from my guide Wayne Higby at Alfred University I consider myself really lucky that I got an opportunity to interact with Dave Roberts in the UK and Wayne Higby – two artists whose work I admire immensely, and relate to. The black/white works that I am currently doing is very much along Dave’s technical style. Wayne’s influence goes much beyond. Since Raku is mainly non-functional,it frees the vessel-maker from the restrictions imposed by the rules of function… It is difficult to articulate/define all our influences, but I search for a quiet strength & stillness. Maybe, that’s why I love Wayne & Dave’s works. Both influenced by landscape, they encompass the quality of nature’s calmness. Even in fury, nature has a stillness.

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