Two brothers navigate their relationship burdened by a past turn of events. The elder brother, the protagonist, is at a fragile juncture in his life. He is struggling with mental and emotional disturbance induced by his eidetic memory, grief, anger and guilt.
The episode is set back in time, in the late 90's, when communication wasn’t as convenient as the contemporary time. There was a compulsive physical distance between the two characters. This distance is bridged by the exchange of letters. This excerpt holds onto one such letter. The letters and the protagonist’s state of mind are conditioned by an incident that occurred a year before this particular letter (1989).
In the year 1988, a three hour long argument provoked the banishment of the protagonist, the elder brother. The decision was made by the bothered locals who supported the act claiming that it would better their society. The protagonist left his home and found shelter in a distillery in the neighbouring state of Nagaland. Things were just settling down for him, when in 1989, the Nagaland Alcohol Prohibition Act was passed by the State Legislative Assembly. Due to which all the licensed liquor manufacturing distilleries collapsed. Zrongkai and Sons was one such company which was shut down in the month of April, 1990. Not all the workers were natives, there were outsiders employed as well. The lives of all the eighty- six workers in all in the distillery came to a standstill along with the factory
The letters and visuals generates a glimpse of a short journey between few spaces of the place they belong to. The journey further triggers introspection in the protagonist’s mind and makes him relive the incident that he dreads the most. The act of reliving wasn’t just a bad habit but also a way to get out of the pit.
Note: The fragments of the received letter is detailed in a set of thirty-six painted encounters, A5 in size (oil on paper), including text. The painted images lead us to the location of the protagonist which is represented three-dimensionally and provides a sense of real space/time.
Using desolate landscapes and alienated features, Madhurjya Dey attempts to portray his emotional, psychological, and physical state. His pictorial narrative on canvas asserts a genre of historical fiction in which he fictionalizes his own personal experiences and stories. His practice includes narrative storytelling, short prose, different forms of poetry, experimental sculptures, oil paintings, sound design, and digital story games. Seeing the world from a sequestered town, Dey's art maintains an underlying sense of tension that has become mundane
Madhurjya uses a contemporary technique of merging painting and photography to depict the suburbs of a segregated town. His work primarily depicts landscapes which are grim and gloomy, further enhanced by his monochromatic palette of blues. Madhurjya Dey reminds the viewer of the seclusion of the town he represents. In expressing a sense of melancholy, Dey's art unfolds a sense of loneliness. In his composition, he adds a splash of red to somber blues, inspiring viewers with a sense of wonder.
My practice is invested in how personal and collective memories enmesh and complicate state and regional histories, particularly in the North-Eastern region of India. I was born and raised in Haflong in the Dima Hasao district in Assam. I work with narrative storytelling, particularly devices of short prose, blank verse and open poetry, with oil paintings, experimental sculptures, sound design and digital story-games. Employing an autobiographical format, personal accounts are fictionalized or multiple stories are patched together to form one multi-limbed narrative.
Haflong, a small town (and the only) hill station in Assam also forms the lens through which diverse narratives play out. My notion of landscape and the general outlook towards the world was informed by this sequestered town assisted by a subtropical highland climate. It is a demographically diverse place despite its small population. It is also the diversity that maintains an underlying fear of chaos and unprecedented violence. My primary focus has been on the constant tension that has become mundane. My narratives are informed by personal encounters, oral histories and events from the common past, asserting the genre of history-fiction. My practice is an attempt to deliver my emotional, psychological and physical state; fathomable/unfathomable through stories and fictional characters. My work has been an emphasis on the desolate landscape of a suburban place and its alienated characters.
In today’s time the best method of narrative art is filmmaking, accessibility being its major motivation. My language is thoroughly influenced by this medium though my attempt is to constantly find alternate ways to go about story-telling.
Madhurjya Dey completed his B.V.A. in Painting from The Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda in the 2018. In 2020, he earned his M.V.A. in Painting from The Faculty of Fine Arts. He has participated in various exhibitions from the year 2018 to 2021 such as the States of Disarray: Practice as Restitution. Along with this, he has been an integral part of many workshops like the 'No Goggle for Earthrise'.
Madhurjya has also been a recipient of awards like the Khoj Artist Support Grant in the year 2020 and the Jeram Patel Award in the year 2018.