Mamta Sen says, “Sawantwadi, a former princely state and part of the Konkan belt of western coast of Maharashtra has the highest number of farmers who have almost abandoned their lands and have been working as migrants in neighbouring cities for many years. The women and children left behind by their husbands eventually end up as mere ‘protectors’ of the lands they once toiled in. These lands end up either being sold off under pressure to the local land mafia or abandoned, empty or left deserted. The women have no skills or techniques empowered to make use of their own fertile lands. The paintings mostly acrylics of canvas, highlight the plight of these women and their circumstances. These are the first of the series of the region.”
Born and brought up in Mumbai, the subjects of Mamta Chitnis Sen’s works are concentrated on rural Maharashtra. A journalist and an extensive traveller, Mamta, an alumni of Sir J J School of Art has been instrumental in creating paintings in oils and acrylics documenting the slow yet disappearing lives and identity of people, especially women living in rural India. A palette knife artist, Mamta aims to showcase the rustic rural landscape of interior India, specially Maharashtra and Bengal through her works, which is losing itself to the ills of urbanization. Her present exhibition The Wait revolving around the women of Sawantwadi is one such display of works that highlights the subject of migrant defection to cities leaving the women behind to look after the deserted and abandoned dry fields.
Artist Mamta Sen
Mamta’s experience in making use of art and experimental theatre as a medium with women to touch upon the various social and current issues that they undergo in various spectrum of society also forms the basis of her works which depict both men and women in single or in groups bonding together to voice an emotion. She founded CanvasClan, a congregation of painters from various age groups in 2011 and organised two art exhibitions under the banner—Random Strokes (at Sir J J School of Art) and Resurrection Bihar (in celebration of 100 years of Bihar state) in Mumbai in 2012. She has also exhibited her works in several group shows across India and is in the process of documenting the art history of her alma mater Sir J J School of Art and its allied branches pre and post 1857 when the Institute was first founded.
The first part of her study on the existence of a state of the art Pottery Department in Mumbai at the Institute’s campus grounds by the British has been published in Rug-Ved, the Institute’s annual journal. The article sheds light on an abolished pottery building set up by the British between 1873-1875 which grew to such fame and glory that it threatened the sales of the famed Wedgewood Company in London. The building was later torn down in 1926 following the terrible plague which led to the decline of pottery students frequenting the campus premises thereby affecting the production and sale of ceramic products.
An avid art enthusiast cum artist and photographer, Mamta has also curated a photography exhibition “Loneliness in Wilderness’ showcasing the declining wildlife in urban areas of India. Mamta is currently the Executive Editor of Dignity Dialogue, one of India’s foremost national magazines exclusively for the 50 plus age group. She has been a journalist with The Sunday Guardian writing on political issues and has also worked with reputed publications like Mid-Day, Society magazine and Sunday Observor. She volunteers as Social Network Officer with World Citizen Artists-- a forum of international artists, musicians and writers founded in Paris in 2013. She has also authored research papers on the evolving role of women in political parties in India.
Painting collection ‘The Wait’