Panda, Jagannath b.1970 / The Elusive Theatre
about this work
Panda’s portraits of the burgeoning new city of Gurgaon (a suburb of New Delhi, where he lives and works) illustrate the tensions to be found there, as over-development threatens natural habitats and infrastructures prove to be inadequate even before they are completed.
Panda’s works continue with his characteristic collage technique, in which the surface of the canvas or sculpture is built up with the addition of brocade fabrics, blended together to create the skins of beasts and feathers of birds, to mimic foliage or approximate man-made surfaces. In his painting and sculptures Panda’s animals appear as ghosts of the past. The act of dressing up animals with festive fabrics are reminiscent of the ancient burial ritual in which the dead are dressed up, both to celebrate their life and to guarantee a smooth afterlife.
His hybridized surface treatment corresponds with many of the artist’s themes, which focus on moments, locations and icons that are in a state of flux, caught between oppositions that are being reconciled only with both anxiety and confusion. Likewise, Panda’s mix of the mythological and the realistic points to the disoriented nature of Indian identity today, as it hopes to synthesize the traditional and the contemporary, the indigenous and the international, the imaginary and the actual. 

“Since first exhibiting his work in 2000, Panda’s work has been surprisingly beautiful with its use of ornate brocade fabrics and shimmering colours, playful in its incongruous juxtapositions and impossible scales. Panda comes from a long line of temple priests, keepers of faith and knowledge systems, his work constantly referencing historical and spiritual imagery and narrative. Having a deeply instilled belief in the power of story-telling and image construction, he witnessed first hand the strength of belief and power invested in the idol, but he questioned the misguided use of faith in community management. For him, the struggle has been to locate image and narrative mindfully within contemporary consciousness, not as something to follow blindly but as a medium to recognize that good and evil, beauty and despair coexist.” Essay by Deeksha Nath, 2015.

Jagannath Panda (b.1970, India)

The Elusive Theatre, 2011

Acrylic, fabric and glueon canvas
186 x 228 cm
73 1/4 x 89 3/4 in.
Nature Morte Gallery, Berlin, Germany Current Location:
UK - London - G4Si PaintingSouth Asia


Metropolis of Mirage
Nature Morte Gallery, Berlin, Germany
August 2011 - September 2011

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