From Nothing to Everything; The Artistic Journey of Swapan Majumder

From Nothing to Everything; The Artistic Journey of Swapan Majumder

The story of Swapan Majumder begins way back in 60's, born in present day Bangladesh, his first taste of art would come when each year artisans would arrive from far and wide to craft idols for the Durga Puja festivities. Everyday, after school he would go to watch them create those idols from scratch, a young Swapan stood mesmerized.
 
Barely two years later the horrific Hindu Muslim riots started to slowly emerge, artisans who came as every year were stranded while others ran for their lives, with the lack of men working to create the idols one of the artisans named Pal saw a young Swapan and asked if we wanted to help him out, to which Swapan agreed. Seeing Swapan's work he was impressed and gave him some money and new clothes as a token of his appreciation for the young lads impressive work, later that day Pal made sure to bring sweets to Swapan's mother and sang praises of her son's intricate work, Pal was eager to take Swapan along so he could pursue a life in arts, but with the violence increasing day by day, Pal left for India
After Pal's departure, Swapan tried his hand at crafting his own idol, so he brought sand from the nearby riverbed and made his very own Saraswati idol, when the locals saw his creation they remained awestruck and offered to pay for all things required for the puja they too sang praises of young Swapan, boosting the young mans morale.
A few weeks later he saw local artisans designing sign boards near his locality, the young man's interest grew to point where he would sit and watch them all day long, a few days later one of the artisans noticed Swapan observing them and asked if he was interested in art, he said yes, and ran back home in joy but couldn't tell his parents that he was keen on pursuing art due to their lack of knowledge on the subject. Over time Swapan spent more and more time practicing with whatever tools he could fine, be it just a pencil or a piece of paper.
Swapan had just started his year in Class 9th when the riots began full fledged, Hindus and Muslims clashing with each other while the country that was East Pakistan was set ablaze, piles of dead bodies lined up the streets. Men, Women and children left everything behind and ran towards India as they saw the horrors unfolding right before their eyes. Swapan's elder brother and a few of his cousins, along with himself and his mother too ran for the border, evading hordes of inhumane politically driven and religiously blinded swords seeking blood. Till date Swapan remembers the horrors in vivid detail.
Upon safely crossing into India the Majumder's came to the small settlement called Prafullanagar in West Bengal. Having left everything behind and far away from what they called home they struggled to make ends meet. Swapan's elder brother found work at the local school and was paid whatever bare minimum salary rural teachers were given back then. It sure wasn't enough but was at least something. Working at the school his elder brother introduced Swapan to a professor named "Bhagwandas Ganguly" who taught at the local PGBT college. Ganguly himself was passionate about the arts and had knowledge regarding the subject. Upon seeing Swapan, Ganguly invited the former to his residence in the nearby town of Banipur. Ganguly gave Swapan a list of tools to buy so he could start training under him, even though the cost of the goods wouldn't be more than 20-30 Rupees, Swapan knew he couldn't afford it and neither could his elder brother. Instead Swapan bought a drawing book and a pencil would carry them around in his bag, wherever he stopped he'd scribble in
 
After School Swapan joined the local Chaitanya college, where his talents were immediately recognized. Swapan's chemistry professor who also worked at a local medicine factory asked Swapan to present some of his artworks to an art exhibition being held at medicine company office. Swapan won a prize at that exhibition which he till date refers as a major motivating factor for him in those early days. Regardless Swapan had to drop out owing to financial hurdles. Looking for the means to start earning he utilized his skills in mathematics and would conduct tutions. He used the money earned from tutions to purchase the list of tools for his passion and go back and train under Bhagwandas Ganguly. There he was trained for 8-9 months and was told to continue in this profession and that Swapan was a genius.
Right after, he was invited to design the cover art for Begam Akhtar's HMV recorded album which was also exhibited at the academy. He received a certificate of merit at his first formal exhibition, which propelled his name further in the art industry. Inspired and flushed with new found money Swapan started oil and gouache painting. He went on to design the covers Deshpatrika, College Street books and also artworks for the well known little magazine. By this point in time he was an already established artist, so utilizing that fame he started teaching art lessons, that is when my own father "Bikash Mandal who today paints under the name Obikasho" started receiving art lessons from him.
 
At one point he started selling bamboo jewellery and greetings card to earn some money but later also got a job at Ashok Nagar school where he would work during the first half of the day and then travel all the way to Kolkata for the bamboo jewellery business and return late at night, he did this everyday for around 10 to 11 years while barely squeezing in an hours sleep every night. During this time he worked with Bajaj, Crompton Greaves, Suchitra Mitra Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Industrialists on commission basis, all these projects helped him reach financial stability using which he was able to build his own house and finally settle down. Swapan Majumder's story is of a young man taking on a journey of hardship and turmoil to follow his dreams and build the path towards his ambitions and goals one brick at a time and now you get to explore and even own the great man's work first hand as he signs an exclusive contract for his entire collection with Artmoshai.com
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