Sujata Bajaj

"There is influence of both French and Indian art in my work. I use a lot of vibrant colours, but balance the colours with the texture."

From her days at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, in Paris, where she experimented with the monotype to her studio in Norway and her home in Pune, Sujata Bajaj has explored various materials, medias and methods. She has worked with different art forms and media such as etching, wood-cut, sculpture, murals, cold ceramic, fibre-glass, metal, mixed media and, now, acrylic.

Born in Jaipur, Sujata's parents perhaps recognised her immense talent at a young age. She says, "My mother who is my teacher, friend and counselor taught me not to take part to win, but also learn and have fun while doing so."After school in Jaipur, Sujata moved in with her brother and his wife in Pune and joined the SNDT College to post graduate in Fine Arts and Painting.

She held her first show at the Bal Gandharva Art Gallery, Pune, in 1978. At one of her exhibitions somewhere in mid 1980s, Sujata met painter S H Raza, who describes her as, "one of the best young talents around, someone who is very clear about her concepts in art."

In India, she had been working on a thesis on tribal art, living in what she calls "an extraordinary milieu, one peopled with ancient heritage and myths."

In 1988, Sujata went to in Paris at Raza's insistence. She was awarded an invitation scholarship by the French Government. In Paris, she enrolled at the Ecole Nationale Superieur Des Beaux-Arts, and worked at Studio Claude Viseux. ViseuxÂ’ s manner of working, in fact, fascinated the young artist. "It involved inking a metal plate, working on the black, placing a leaf underneath and setting the press in motion. The metal plate could be substituted by a glass one. They could be used for making no more than one print," she says.

France was a fascinating world, one that helped her "find the balance between Indian aesthetics and modern painting." Claude and Raza, till date, continue to be her biggest allies and patrons.

Tribal art plays a major role in Sujata's work even today. Quite natural given the fact that she did her PhD degree in Indian tribal art and has lectured on it across the world. Art critic Ranjit Hoskote, while reviewing Sujata's work says, "Each of her frame acts as a variation on the past, the ancestral inheritance: in the ochre yellow and red palette, we are recalled into the ritual circle of sacrifice; a hero-stone, a tribal totem, a lost goddess of fertility is suggested by certain motifs; and in the elegant calligraphy of the sacred texts, the hymns repeated until the pitch of perfection has been achieved."

Sujata Bajaj spends her time between Pune, Norway and Paris.