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Sunoj D

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1979, Kerala, India
Lives and Works in Bangalore, India

Sunoj D is one of the few contemporary Indian artists who are actively working with nature and environment related issues. His primary concern is about how agriculture is slowly integrated in urban spaces and how nature is getting transformed through urban and artificial landscaping.

Education

2006

Post Graduation in Print-making, Bangalore University, Bangalore, India

2003

Graduation in Painting, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore, India

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LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Sunoj D

Locating History through his work

From a personal history to a history of a place Sunoj has engaged with history and come up with some interesting artworks that talk about history and its social and political relevance in our life; he looks at it from a contemporary point of view. His work Zero to the right drawing locates the history of trading connection between Kerala and gulf countries like Dubai, the work conceived in a residency in Dubai where he converted the money that he received there as an artist from Dollar to Dirham (Dubai currency) then to Rupees, he marked the sum of money that was finally converted into rupee on the wall in graphite. The painstaking process links the long history and the relation of the two trading centers and his marks reflect a meditative gesture that he had gone through while doing it as well as reflecting the history and time and money that was involved in this trading connection. He converted his studio in the residency in a space where history can be revisited.

Sunoj D, Zero to the right drawing, 2014, 1,25,427 marks on the wall in graphite.

Critically Looking Into the Surrounding Social Structure

Sunoj D has consciously been involved in the contradiction of the two spaces that of rural and urban, where he looks into the intricacies of the social structure that the two spaces have. Sunoj’s way of looking into the structure is from a critical perspective. His series of works named Sunoj not dead since 1979 articulates the social structure through family as the most primeval institution of the society. A society is constructed out of several families and being a part of a family how he reacts and establishes himself in society, the work looks at the criticalities of the social structure and the place of a man in it and its relation towards its immediate space. “My work thus examines the construction of the self within the social framework of institutions – private/public, and the relationships formed in the process. It also questions the capacity of an individual’s choices within an institution, and the related constraints of having to fit into a category,” says Sunoj D about his work.

Sunoj D, Me Sunoj alive since 1979, 2004 Embossed print and Silkscreen on paper, 32” x 17”, 36” x 28”, 32” x 17”,

Art and Nature in Sunoj's Works

Nature is an integral element in Sunoj D’s works; not only nature but the politics related to it and its relation with the human are all juxtaposed in Sunoj’s works. Nature comes through his intervention in the issues of decreasing land for agriculture as urban space is expanding rapidly.

His works interestingly and powerfully encounters this issue where he tries to create an alternative space as well as experience through growing crops in urban spaces like in a living room of a house or in a balcony, which in itself creates a strong statement against the growing encroachment of rural and agrarian land in order to develop urban spaces. His project Urban Farmland Project deals with this very element where he grows crops in used 2ltr soft drinks/ mineral water bottles within the living space of urban dwellers. This creates a kind of visual transformation of the space as well as reflects upon man’s fading relationship with nature; a paddy plant is now treated as a house plant usually found in urban dwellings serving decorative purposes.

Sunoj D, Urban Farmland project, 2010 inkjet print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 22” x 30”

Building Metaphors out of everyday life

Hailing from a rural space Sunoj has been intimately connected to farming and harvesting and his experience of being in nature through agriculture has created an important impact on his works.

He develops his ideas from the habits, objects, lifestyle of everyday life of everyday people in rural spaces and he tends to connect those everyday life experience through his works, where sometimes a pot, a rope or mere a lump of clay in a shape of a mountain creates metaphor that he thinks are common yet something very close to him, something which he can relate to. "In A Forgotten Carpentry Lesson and a Love Song, I look into the metamorphosis of what is familiar and common into something that is again familiar and common. The changes that are taking place are not necessarily unidirectional. The metamorphosis can be, and often is, two-way," says Sunoj while talking about his works A forgotten carpentry lesson and a love song, which deals with his memories and his thought on metamorphosis that takes place in our life but often go unnoticed.

Sunoj D, forgotten carpentry lesson and a love song, 2011 graphite on paper, 102.5 x 180 cms 

Bibliography