Bonobithi Biswas



1-27 April 2023

Bonobithi was based in Mumbai, India, her journey in the world of art began as a toddler, at the age of four, when she first started playing with colours. She firmly believe that art is the practice of a lifetime, and thus, is still a field largely owing to the ancient workshop traditions of apprenticeship under the direct supervision of a master. 

She has explored various media, among them oil on canvas, acrylic, water colours, gouache, pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel. About six years ago, she started specializing in nature painting inspired from the impressionistic traditions of late nineteenth century Europe. Although she continue to make studies from time to time in other media, oil is currently her chief medium of work. Her works have been displayed in exhibitions across Europe, in both group and solo shows, in Antwerp, Milan, Madrid, London, and Venice. 

During her four-week residency at the Ketemu Project, Bono immersed herself in Balinese art and engaged with numerous local artists, workshops, and communities. In the first week of her journey, she began creating artworks that depicted the relationship between India and Bali, which she expressed through wayang (traditional puppetry) forms. At the end of her residency, Bono conducted “Ketemu Aja!” and presented a solo exhibition titled “Garland of Melodies.”

About Exhibitions 

“Garland of Melodies” reinvents in abstraction the Ragamala, a medieval court tradition in India that brought together music, painting and poetry, a project Bonobithi has been working on for the past six months. The notion of circularity/cyclicity has great significance in ancient Indian philosophy. Thus emerges a philosophic standard and lifestyle practice acknowledging the role of recurrence and connection at the heart of sustainable living, the same principle at the core of raga theory. The Sanskrit word raga means “colour”, establishing early the link between music and painting, which centuries later took the form of these Ragamala miniatures. 

Closely associated with one of the oldest Indian music schools, the Dagar Gharana, herself for over a decade, Bonobithi is an avid lover of music, and has experienced synesthesia (seeing colour in music) for as long as she can remember. This combined with her love for nature and its subtle changes gave birth to this series. Classical Indian music shares a deep relationship with the various moods of nature and the human heart, both in their changing hours and seasons. In a sense the external world becomes a reflection of the internal world. Each raga is related to a certain mood or rasa, the emotional states defined in Indian aesthetic theory, and the aim of the rendition in melody and colour is to achieve this rasa to perfection. Each of the twelve circular oil paintings in this series represent a raga associated with a particular time across the cycle of the day.