Anupam Roy’s body of work addresses both, the material exploitation of land, as well as the more intangible yet oppressive bureaucratisation, legislation, and politicisation associated with its ownership. His sketches, paintings, banners, and prints juxtapose materials and referents that are specific to his subject with what he considers “anti-referential” elements. Through this endeavour, Roy confronts the impossibility of objectively representing the complexities that surround the perception, delineation, and function of land given the contradictions and tautologies that govern its allocation and usage. Land is perceived ultimately as a space that lends itself towards subjective interpretation and engagement based on one’s own socio economic affinity and identity. For Roy, recognising such contrary and idiosyncratic perspectives helps dismantle hegemonic land discourses.
While the contentious nature of discourses surrounding land are frequently masked by spectacular imagery, Roy consciously brings the overpowering oppression associated with them to the forefront of his compositions. Effectively, the phenomenological vastness and picturesqueness of the landscape is challenged by the pressing need for collective action and resistance against overbearing strategies used to administer it. While Roy’s works make references to localized struggles and conflicts, they point toward the need for broader consciousness. Roy further strives to render his surfaces uncanny and surreal, suggesting the limitations of rationality in making sense of the intricacies of varying land discourses. As he states, “The space, as I imagine, is an irreal entity of contrast and diversity; a world within, paralyzed and blurred by the very notion of it.” Where Roy’s artworks thus acknowledge the limitations of activism, they simultaneously serve to imbue viewers with a critical and sensitive approach towards understanding land-politics.
This artwork description is an excerpt from “De-Notified Land” an exhibition at Project 88 by Anupam Roy.
Anupam Roy’s practice reflects his experiences and observations in the hinterlands of rural Bengal where he was born in 1985, the urban landscapes of metropolitan Delhi where he currently lives and works, as well as in Central and North Eastern India where he has engaged in regional political inquiry and activism. Roy studied contemporary art at Ambedkar University, Delhi. His works have been exhibited at several exhibitions including the 2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, New Museum, New York, and he is the recipient of the 2018 FICA Emerging Artist Award. Roy has a parallel practice as a designer of political posters, signage, and graffiti. He has conducted numerous workshops on the design and conception of political posters with radical political and activist groups all over India.
This artist bio has been sourced from Anupam Roy’s biography on Project 88.