Sayan Chanda


Primal systems, subaltern religiosity and folk iconography from Bengal are at the heart of Sayan’s practice. Totems, talismans, votive offerings, their physicality and purpose which make them sacred yet foreboding, are potent references for him. He is particularly interested in how these objects transcend their material confines and move into a realm of the arcane and enigmatic.

Indigenous worldview and vernacular knowledge systems are often marginalised and dismissed as archaic and irrelevant. Sayan is often disappointed by the othering of folk and subaltern practices which is not only prevalent in the West but is entrenched in the fabric of the Indian society as well.

Through his work, he interprets the rationale behind such objects, practices and beliefs beyond their apparent esoteric facade. He does this by channelling his personal mythologies, anxieties and memory, using found textiles, ceramics and objects that resonate with him, such as used Kantha quilts from Bengal. Aniconic representation of deities and ritualistic mark-making reflect in his tapestries and other textile-based works. His ceramic pieces are part archaeological, part remnants of a fictional forgotten script, referencing folk iconography. He likes to think that the hybrid objects he makes, though definitive in mass and form, remain suspended at the peculiar juncture of existence and evanescence.