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Jagannath Panda

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1970, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India
Lives and works in Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Jagannath Panda’s mixed media works deal with animal subjects and urban settings. The artist concentrates on the constant opposition between elements like nature and settlement, modern and traditional. He borrows immensely from his own experiences, while inter-playing fantastical mannerisms of mystic nature. The artist largely works with sculptural installations and landscape paintings.



Master of Arts, Fine Sculpture, Royal College of Art, London


Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture), Faculty of Fine Arts, Mahraja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India


Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture), B.K College of Art and Crafts, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India



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Panda's cityscapes depict the violent disruptions of city life

The city never exudes a fluent impression, and this is precisely what Panda’s works attempt to depict. The city is always fraught with differences and struggles, and denies any seamless narrative. These disruptions in the city narrative are brought into focus, almost in a primal, brutal state. Even if there is a cosmetic impression, Panda’s works again attempt to de-stabilise this, and throw up distortions to confront what the truth really is.
His Fatal-Sublime shows a violent juxtaposition of a car crash and the cityscape. In the background, the distant traces of buildings and houses show a serene order of life while the foreground shows the mangled remains of a car after a crash. The fragility of life on one hand is posed in a questioning gaze with the background of a calm city.

Jagannath Panda, Fatal-Sublime, acrylic, fabric and glue on canvas, 90 x 72”.

His works often show the divide between the haves and the have-nots

A gruelling indictment that Panda often makes in his artworks is the sharp divide between the poor and the rich. The spatial landscapes of cities are clearly marked out in terms of which spaces are inhabited by the poor and those by the rich. There is a stark difference in the spread of resources among these two spaces, a commentary on the inequalities that have become the norm.
In Water-05, 2005, the canvas is divided by a high concrete wall, one side of which is the wide expanse of a private property and the other is a public road. On the public road, people with buckets and drums, or any utensil that would serve as a water carrier, are seen making queues to collect water from a single water tanker. Multiple long spindly water hoses cater to the hordes of people scampering for their daily scrounge for water. This is in poignant contrast to the large, gleaming swimming pool on the other side of the wall, with no one in sight.

Jagannath Panda, Water-05, 2005, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48”.

The mythical populate the city-renderings of Panda

A strategy that Panda often employs in creating a disjuncture in the spaces of the city is by populating the space with characters from Hindu mythology. This anachronistic placement of the mythical and the contemporary in the same dimension of space and time offers a critique of the modern advancements of mankind.
His Love Terrace II, 2007, shows a couple in an erotic embrace on the terrace of a building with views of pulleys and cranes going about their construction jobs around them. The peculiarity of the couple is that it draws from the iconography of couples in embrace found in Hindu temple architecture and paintings made centuries ago. This placement of this couple of antiquities in the midst of a busy skyline of a city poses an introspective question on modernity itself.

Jagannath Panda, Love Terrace II, 2007, fabric and acrylic on canvas, 78 x 78”.

Animal subjects serve as an allegory for the artist's take on urban issues

Jagannath Panda often uses animal subjects to create allegories of urban tales in his works. They attempt to create newer frames of meaning and reflections with animals as their subjects. The extensions of animal instincts and their nature create a parallel to stories of the urban life of man. The idea of using animals as allegories is also borrowed from mythology where animals were granted a similar space and agency as humans.
In The Migrant (Anywhere, Anytime)-III, 2011, the artist shows a flock of migrating geese in the foreground with images of eggs next to them juxtaposed with a background of settlements, probably belonging to migrants of a city, under a huge sign of a corporate. Here the issue of migration is equated to the nature of birds, migrating in search of food and better climates.

Jagannath Panda, The Migrant (Anywhere, Anytime)-III, 2011, acrylic, fabric, glue on canvas, 36.2 x 36.2”.

The idea of transformation is a recurring theme in his works

Transformation is a theme that envelops Jagannath Panda’s works. Spiritual transformation, physical transformation, economic transformation—all of these figure repeatedly in his works. These transformations are then lent a dialogue between the past and the present, the transitions and conflicts, and finally with the state of present being.
After he moved from his home state in Odisha to New Delhi, he saw the capital in the throes of expansion, building newer suburbs to support a growing demand for state. He heard stories of land acquisitions and subsequent generation of the nouveau riche farming class. Negotiations of their present economic status with their modest past presented Panda with premises for his art. His Trajectories of Love and Hate, 2012, show a top-view of a high rise building with a couple of cows grazing around in the lawns, showing a kind of co-existence of a past life and present development.

Jagannath Panda, Trajectories of Love and Hate, 2012, acrylic, fabric and glue on canvas, 76 x 90”.