IAAC Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora 2012

Debangana Banerjee
Debangana Banerjee

Debangana Banerjee, M.F.A. Visual Artist

My works are about my journey through life—memories of the past, experiences of thepresent and premonitions of the future—and how that journey, through its changing landscapesand human characters, generates images that I call inscapes. In most of my artistic creations the external landscape supplies the resources thatultimately form inscapes in my mind, which I pour out in both my art and poetry. For me, inscape is born out of the marriage of the external world andinternal emotions. I take the elements of the outside world and ferment them in my imaginationto pour out a combined vision of internal landscape.
I was born and raised in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India—a small university town. Ilived there until I came to the USA in 2006. I studied there from kindergarten to my Master’s at Visva-BharatiUniversity, which was founded by Rabindranath Tagore, poet and the first Nobel laureate fromAsia. Santiniketan is a place known for its natural beauty and cultural heritage and being a poet’s school, Visva-Bharati offered me a different dimension of life, a space forimagination and an opportunity to become a complete human being.
I feel natureprofoundly affects the domain of human actions. Thus in my work all my experiencesget connected to my natural environment, and my emotions find release in elemental images. Thesurroundings of Santiniketan highly influenced the concepts of my work and I started my journeyfrom there. Wherever I live, I get in touch with my environs. I try to find my connection with thenatural world and the people of that place, and seek out subjects that suit my art.
In this foreign landI lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the first few years. The landscape of Baton Rouge offered me plenty of similarities with my home town, Santiniketan, but it also provided profound contrasts in culture, language and inhabitants. Baton Rouge smells similar toSantiniketan after rain; trees, flowers and the weather are all very much alike. This made ahomesick girl like me, who was deeply in love with her home town, very comfortable.Thus, southern Louisiana life and nature built an intimate, affectionate relationship with meslowly, and I started realizing that I am neither a part of life here, nor an outsider anymore. This state of being charged me to do more energetic woodcuts and paintings and to write more poetry.All the abstract shapes and imagined spaces of my works come from thisreal world. But, my works do not directly capture the moods of nature. Neither do these have anystatement about nature. I use natural elements—trees, branches, river, sky, rain etcetera— toportray my interior world or inscape. My works articulate a pure mental state. They are about myjourney in this new land and through my life.
My subjects arise from verypersonal experiences and get fermented in my imagination to project an inner vision. I createdeep intimate spaces, transitional moments of conscious and unconscious thoughts using bothnatural and personal imageries. In this endeavor, dark, solid and earthly colors and robust textures play a big role.
My works are based on three major themes: my relationship with this new land and the place where Icame from, and various struggles of life. I have been working on the subject of my journeythrough life for the last three years.
While compositing the content, Rabindranath Tagore’s songs and poems always offered me a new philosophicalawareness of existence and the hereafter. His vast philosophical vision creates a balance betweenlife and death and between the human soul and the universe.
From the very beginning as an outsider at the same time as an insider my relationshipwith this place has been marked with a tension and contradictory emotions—a push of alienationand a pull of deep intimacy. In my inscapes I articulate all these different emotional tensions forthe viewers.

Present Occupation

  • Visual artist
  • Board member of The San Marcos Area Arts Council, San Marcos, Texas

Current Projects and Upcoming Events

  • Co-curating of upcoming art show on India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, Walkers’ Gallery, San Marcos, Texas, January 2012
  • Solo exhibition at Jump Start Art Gallery, San Antonio, Texas 2012
  • ‘Shilpa’, Colors of India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, group exhibition at Walkers’ Gallery, San Marcos, Texas, 2012
  • Solo exhibition at San Marcos public Library, San Marcos, Texas, 2011
  • Six poems to be published in Toad Suck Review, 2011 (Translated from Bengali to English by Vincent A. Cellucci)


  • M.F.A in Printmaking at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 2010
  • M.F.A. in Graphics, Kala-Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, India, 2005
  • B.F.A. (Honours) in Graphics, Kala-Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, India, 2003     

Honours & Awards

  • National Scholarship, Ministry of Culture, 2005-07 
  • University scholarship for MFA in Graphics, 2002,2003
  • “SuhagKumariNahar” scholarship for standing first in the Annual Examination, 2001
  • “Roopkrishna Book Prize” for first place in the Annual Examination, 2001
  • University Scholarships, for first place in order of merit in Kala-Bhavana, 1999, 2000, 2001


  • Silver & Bronze medal, 2nd& 3rd All India Art Contest & Exhibition”, KalankanPrayas, Dhanbad, November 2002, 2003
  • Merit certificate, Kalavart National Art contest 2002, KalavartNyas, Ujjain, 2002
  • Merit certificate, 3rd All India Art Exhibition (LokmanyaTilak Exhibition), Pune 2002
  • Sunanda Award for Art, Bhubaneshwar, 1990
  • Shankar’s International Children’s Art Competition Award, 1987
  • First Prize (Group “B”), Camel All-India Colour Contest, 1986


  • M.F.A Thesis Show, Foster Gallery, LSU, Baton Rouge, USA, 2010
  • Exhibition of paintings, Beauregard Gallery & Bistro, Baton Rouge, USA, October 2009
  • Exhibition of prints and paintings at Communication across the Curriculum, Art & Design studio, LSU, Baton rouge, USA, 2008
  • Exhibition of paintings and collages in Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, Rouge, USA, 2007
  • Exhibition of prints organized by Shreshta Art Resources at Café Coffee Day, Espresso Gallery, Bangalore, 2004


  • TheLouisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) Auction & Exhibition, Baton Rouge, USA 2011, 2010, 2009  
  • Silent Auction organized by The International Hospitality Foundation at LSU Little Theater, Baton Rouge, USA, 2009   
  • ‘Venus Envy’, an exhibition at Baton Rouge Gallery, USA, 2009
  • 4484 Streetview Art Collective, an art Auction at Foster Gallery, LSU, Baton Rouge, USA, 2009
  • ‘Celebrating Women’, an exhibition at Shaw Centre, Baton Rouge, USA, 2009
  • ‘Bridges’, an exchange print portfolio, San Francisco Art Institute and LSU, 2009
  • Graduate Students Exhibition at Foster Gallery, LSU,USA, 2008, 2007
  • ‘Middleton Show’, an exhibition at Middleton Library, LSU, USA, 2008
  • ‘Women in Arts’ (Women’s History Month), an exhibition at LSU Women's Centre,
  • USA, 2008
  • ‘The Colloquial Datum’ an exchange print portfolio, organized by The University of Wisconsin ParksideUSA, 2007
  • ‘L’Epice de la Vie’, An Exhibition at Ann Connelly Fine Art Gallery, Baton Rouge, USA, 2007          
  • Several exhibitions at Backyard Gallery, Baton Rouge, USA, 2006
  • An Exhibition to support SantiniketanShishutirtha, Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata, India, 2006 
  • An Exhibition of Prints, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata, India, 2005
  • 69th Annual Exhibition, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata, India, 2005
  • An Exhibition of Prints, Govt. College of Art, Chandigarh,India 2004
  • 18th All India Art Contest & Exhibition, South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur, India, 2004 
  • 68th Annual All India Fine Arts Exhibition, Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, India, 2003
  • CharukalaBarshikProdorshoni and CharukalaUtsav, Ministry of Information and Culture, Government of West Bengal, India, 2003 
  • Exchange exhibition of print making, Gulbarga Art Collage and Kala-Bhavana, Santiniketan, India
  • 5th All India Fine Art Exhibition 2002-2003, Academy of Fine Art Karnataka, India
  • 2nd& 3rd All India Art Contest and Exhibition, KalankanPrayas, Dhanbad, India, 2002 & 2003
  • “All India Exhibition of Art”, Indian Academy of Fine Arts (REGD), Amritsar, India, 2002, 2003 & 2005
  • Exhibition, “Anish Collections” Art Gallery, Trivoli Court, Kolkata, India, 2002
  • Exhibition, Jammu Art College, J & K, India, 2002
  • 24th All India Art Exhibition, TulikaKalakarParishad, Udaipur, India, 2002
  • LokmanyaTilak Art Exhibition (3rd& 4th All India Art Exhibitions), TilakSmarak Trust, Pune, India, 2002 and 2003
  • All India Exhibition of Drawings- 2002, Punjab Lalit Kala Academy & National Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh, India, 2002
  • 2nd Eastern Region Exhibition, Camlin Art Foundation, Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, India; 2001
  • Three-way Exchange Exhibition of Printmaking, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK; National Art School, Sydney, Australia and Kala-Bhavana, Santiniketan, India; 2001
  • Exhibition of Prints, Kala-Bhavana, Nandan Art Gallery, Santiniketan, India, 2001
  • Indo-Japan Exchange Exhibition, Saga Art College, Japan, 2001
  • Exhibition, organized by Patha-Bhavana, showing works of artists associated with the school, from Rabindranath Tagore to the present; Santiniketan, India, 2000


  • Elizabethan Gallery, Ann Connelly Fine Art Gallery, Baton Rouge, USA and various other places abroad


  • Graduate Assistant, Communication across the curriculum, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA 2007-2010
  • Worked as art and craft teacher in Navanalanda (secondary school), Santiniketan, WB, India, from August 2005 to February 2006

Other Activities

  • Designed cover for Tagore Dance by Dr. KaberiChatterjee, 2011
  • Designed cover for Asians in America: Diasporic Perspectives in Literature by Professor HimadriLahiri, 2011
  • Six poems included in the syllabus of “Africa, India and the Middle East Global Mirrors and Personal Journey of Discovery,”course taught by Benjamin S. Lowenkron at Baton Rouge Community College, 2011
  • Narration, “Churning of Milk,” a documentary film by Chicory Miles, Professor in Sculpture, LSU, USA, 2007
  • Active member in various on campus activities during student life in India and also worked closely with faculties to organize various events like art exhibitions, book publications, university study tours, art fairs, dramatic performances etc.
  • Musical, theatrical performances recorded and broadcast over national television in India
  • Associated with several journals in Bengali and English
  • Two short stories published on the occasion of NandanMela, the annual art fair of Kala-Bhavana; India 1998 and 1999
  • Several articles, photographs and prints published in various leading Indian daily and weekly magazines including The Sunday Times of India, The Statesman,Sahara Time and Ananda Bazar Patrika

Voluntary Work

  • Wittliff Collections archive at Texas State University-San Marcos, Texas, 2010 onwards
  • San Marcos Public Library, Texas, 2010
  • Loan Closet (under IHF), LSU, Baton Rouge, 2006-2010
  • LSU Union Art Gallery Committee, LSU, Baton Rouge, 2006-2007
  • Engaged in teaching regular classes in art, art appreciation, and theatre for CHETANALOK (an organization offering remedial services for disabled and disadvantaged children and youth), 1999-2002
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