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Sachin George Sebastian

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1985, Kanhangad, Kerala, India
Lives and works in New Delhi

Sachin George Sebastian is often called a paper engineer, and as an artist explores paper as a medium, as well as a structure in itself. He creates sculptures and installations exploring the sole medium of paper, an instrument of design in itself.



Bachelor in Communication Design, National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India


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UNDERSTANDING Sachin George Sebastian

Back Story of a Life Journey with Paper

Starting out as a graphic design student from National Institute of Design, Sachin George Sebastian discovered the world of paper engineering through pop-up books at a book store. As a student he took to designing pop-up art books for children, and a passion for the medium led him to explore it in as many ways as he could. His attachment to children's books continues as he is a regular participator to several children's literature festivals including the annual Bookaroo festival in Delhi. His work includes origami, as well as the more modern version of kirigami, which requires the use of glue. His medium has always been paper, though he brings it forth in a multitude of ways in his artworks.

Sachin George Sebastian, How Long? How Far?, 2009, paper installation, 12 x 2.5".

His work as a Paper Engineer - Visual Design

Soon after his graduation, while looking for a way forward, Sachin decided to practice his skill with paper and keep exploring the world of pop-up books. He decided to take up paper as his medium for visualization in his artworks. As the only medium of expression, pop-up books were limiting him. He found it difficult to explore its realms beyond a point, as the medium and the scope of its properties could offer him much more if he moved beyond the restrictions.

Sachin George Sebastian, Untitled, 2013, hand cut archival paper collage, 100 x 4 x 100" 

Use of Paper as a Visual Structure as well as Medium

Sachin's use of paper as a form as well as a medium comes across best perhaps in his artwork Words: A User's Manual which has extensive use of newspaper text as rhetoric. Sachin has remarked how the connection was made by him one morning when he opened the newspaper, an everyday phenomenon. "Almost completely covered with text, it was covering a lot of stories happening all around us. The second thought was that of how the entire city is waking up with it, making the day better, worse or least affected by the same. These multiple stories kept getting stacked at the corner of a room. Those stacks represented the whole set of events that happened in the past few months. Like a diary of the nation, and bits from all over the world."

Sachin represents the process of collective history making and unmaking here, with some stories getting representation while other events blurring into obscurity and finally oblivion. He uses the idea of newspapers getting stacked up over the year in one corner of the house to depict the growth of newspaper stacks into a metropolis representing its stories and collective history in its archives. The events that have repercussions in our life are represented by the narrow lanes that the newspaper stack metropolis leaves in his paper city, and the shadows that they draw.

Sachin George Sebastian, Multi-Story, 2011, newspapers, resin, coffee table, coffee cup, broken saucer, 60 x 27 x 54".

Alienation within the Megapolis - Merging the Organic and the City

His obsession with the city is two-fold, to bring out the outward gleam of a metropolis that belies its alienating nature. He sees the city as a microcosm of carnivorous flowers, which while coming together as an organic whole, alienates the individual. This has been addressed repeatedly in several works of his. When asked about the same, Sebastian says, "The beauty from far is deceptive, and on a closer look one just sees the monstrosity of the metropolis they get trapped in - filled with wires and windows and people, their thoughts, struc¬tures and chaos, all growing in a very organic monstrous way… but that’s the beauty of the city". The structure and order of the metropolis is the very same form that breeds its anarchic nature, the unplanned expansion of a metropolis driven by its burden and greed, and this dichotomy comes across starkly in Sebastian's works.

Sachin himself grew up in the town of Kasaragod, Kerala and shares a tentative relationship with the big city. He sees them as tempting from a distance but with the capability of swallowing up an individual, depicted in the carnivorous flowers used in his works as the metaphor for units of a city.

Sachin George Sebastian, Untitled, paper collage, 40 x 40".

The Conflict between Nature and the City

Sachin's works often juxtapose the city with its inorganic elements through metaphors from nature, for instance flowers are a recurring theme in his works. Sachin's works represent the conflict that comes across with things that he loves like the organic beauty of nature and the things that he resents visually - the concrete cityscape and the industrial excesses and wastes of cityscapes come together in one place. According to him, the collision brings certain common patterns, a cross-reference that acts as his inspiration.

Sachin George Sebastian, Metropolis and the City Planners, 2010, paper installation, 39 x 39 x 4".