Santanu Hazarika's New Art Series Illustrates A Haunting & Introspective Personal Battle

Rebirth, Reptile, and Anti-Depressants
Rebirth, Reptile, and Anti-DepressantsSantanu Hazarika

When it comes to our nation’s contemporary artistic landscape, Santanu Hazarika needs no introduction. A multidisciplinary artist from Assam, his visual grammar fused with his innate understanding of form, color, structure, and thematic relevance has allowed him to become one of the most creative artists of his generation.

His recent three-part illustration series Rebirth, Reptile, and Anti-Depressants is a testament to his creative prowess. What I liked most about the series is the lack of separation between the artworks and the artist. He plunges himself into the canvas not just through his skills but also as a subject. The themes and execution of the artworks conjure up in my mind a post-modern and contemporary rendition of Dante’s journey through the Inferno. Similar to Dante in Divine Comedy, Santanu also finds himself physically immersed in his own creation as he traverses Biblical landscapes and encounters inner and outside demons. The hellish beasts that Dante encounters represent violence, incontinence and fraud while Hazarika’s ‘pet snake’ may signify his mental illnesses. As the title of the second artwork (Eden) suggests, the reptile has strong allusions to the snake that Adam and Even encounter in the Garden of Eden. The visually striking red noose in the first panel of Hazarika’s artwork strikes me as extremely pertinent. While Hazarika’s noose acts as a “chokehold”, tethering him from a ‘true experience’, it draws to mind a similarity between the nine circles of Hell that Dante must overcome for his spiritual growth.

Rebirth, Reptile, and Anti-Depressants
How The Bhagavad Gita Shaped William Blake's Artistic & Philosophical Vision

"The snake in me, shifting and slithering has consumed my consciousness. It has evolved as a deity, and self immolation is the offering it wants. Cut my heart out with the dagger of holy stones , spun a yarn out of my nerves and veins and finally transformed the truth of desire into a flower. This is my way back to Eden."

Santanu Hazarika

While Dante seeks salvation, Hazarika possibly seeks rebirth or an escape from the cycle. In the illustration series, re-birth emerges as a product of a painful experience. All art is open to interpretation and this is how I view his series. Whats for certain is that these three artworks serve as introspective journals loaded with metaphors for overcoming internal battles.

Rebirth, Reptile, and Anti-Depressants
Vidushi Gupta's 'Oscillation' Is A Gripping Visual Journey Through Mental Illness

"Consciousness devours itself, holy tools used for its own destruction and for its imminent rebirth, its no longer superficial like shedding of its skin, its the sacrifice of flesh and blood. Innocence is reborn as a fury, out of a crimson flower guided by a red sun around which time and creation revolves. The baby uses the yarn of nerves to stitch the holy heart to itself , my soul is reborn carrying the weight and wisdom of my serpent self.”

Santanu Hazarika

Related Stories

No stories found.