Scrolling through the vast expanse of Instagram, once in a while you come across an artist whose art speaks directly to you. Sometimes its the medium they use, sometimes its the ability of the piece to connect with your inner turmoils and sometimes its the piece’s ability to stop you in your tracks. Art has often been a form of catharsis for artists and it is no different for Kolkata-based self-taught, independent artist Angana Kundu, who began illustrating at the age of 19 as a way of coping with being overwhelmed by her emotions.
In an interview with Alma Magazine, she recounted the first time she drew, saying, “I remember being blind with rage, picking up a piece of charcoal and drawing on the wall of my room. I have no idea where or how I got the piece of charcoal from. After I drew, I was calm and could think straight.”
Her illustrations now, are an honest reflection of how she views the world, illustrating androgynous and gender-fluid faces with their repressed emotions, we could say that her artwork also offers a deep insight into the complexities of human emotions. Though what sets Kundu apart as an artist is how her keen observations come to life in her illustrations. The simplistic illustrations do not pretend to be something they aren’t. Perhaps that is the reason why they resonate so much with her followers.
It is Kundu’s Metro Movement series, though that have caught our attention the most. An interesting project from the get go, the eponymous collection of ballpoint illustrations were drawn in transit in the underground metro. A dual transit that is both literal in the sense of her movement in the metro as well as a more personal in the way that the series was started as a way for her to keep herself calm on her commute to and fro her university.
Her illustrations that particularly focus on depictions of the face, are an interesting take on the performative nature of emotions and our tendency as social animals to put up an act instead of revealing our truest feelings. There is therefore, a sense of vulnerability in Kundu’s illustrations as she examines her subjects and their complex emotions.
In the same interview with Alma Magazine, she talked about why faces dominated her illustrations, saying, “Faces strike me as special subjects because I think they are deceiving. People rarely show what they feel. Everybody strives to present themselves as happy and perfect and I do not understand why. It tends not to work. You can tell if someone is truly happy or not if you look at them. So I drew people as I saw them. Tired and struggling and worried, that is essentially human. We just worry about different things and in different ways.” adding “I drew the faces of the people around me, but nobody in particular. I was at once drawing all and none. I tried to draw the emotions I saw and the emotions I felt. And somehow they were all horrified or in a state of shock and/or worry.”
You can follow Angana on Instagram here.
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