(Born in 1964)
Saat Samundar Paar (10)
signed and dated 'Subodh Gupta 0304' in Hindi & titled 'Saat Samundar Paar (10)' in English (on reverse)
oil on canvas
158 x 229 cm (66¼ x 90 in.)
Painted in 2003
New Delhi, Saffronart and The Guild, Generation I, March 2004.

Lot Essay

Saat Samundar Paar (Across the Seven Seas) (Lot 172) is a series of works undertaken by the artist on the theme of migration and the return home. Luggage, luggage carts and airport conveyor belts become overarching metaphors for the hopes and dreams invested in these journeys as well as the psychological baggage bourne by the immigrant migrant worker vacillating between homesickness, alienation and assimilation. The carefully wrapped bundles of meager worldly possessions transform to equally precious cargo of foreign paraphernalia proudly carried and disbursed to the extended family on the journey home. These works are meant as oblique commentaries on class inequities. Gupta's allusion to the more recent phenomenon of the migrant worker from India's lower classes toiling in the Middle East and Southeast Asia also has antecedents in the history of Bihar, the artist's home province. Bihar's reputation for anarchy and lawlessness is partially rooted from the notion of transience as impoverished Biharis were sent abroad as bonded labourers to far-flung colonies such as Mauritius and the West Indies in vast large-scale migrations since the mid-19th century.

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