Childhood, Education And Early Life:
Subodh Gupta was born in 1964 at Khagaul in Bihar. He has five other siblings. His father who was a railway guard died in his early forties while Subodh was still very young. Subodh’s mother who hailed from an agricultural background sent Subodh to live with her brother in a remote village. It was here where most of his formal education took place. Soon after his schooling, Subodh joined a small theatre group in Khagaul where he worked as an actor for five years. While still studying at College Of Art in Patna, he started working as a part-time news illustrator and designer. Later, he was awarded a scholarship by a Government-run initiative and an opportunity to work in Ghari Studios.
Subodh Gupta is best known for incorporating everyday objects that are ubiquitous across India, viz., steel tiffin boxes used by million to carry their lunch, bicycles, thali pans, milk pails, etc. With the help of these ordinary items, Subodh produces sculptures that reflect on the economic transformation in his homeland, Bihar. These sculptures relate to Subodh’s own life, times and memories. As Subodh Gupta says, “All these things were part of the way I grew up. They are used in the rituals and ceremonies that were part of my childhood”.
Painting is also an essential element of Subodh’s art work. His work, “Still Steal Steel” is about photo-realistic paintings of kitchen utensils falling and moving in space. As we know, cow dung is used in India for building houses and as fuel in cooking fires and it is also a cleaning agent. Subodh took this concept on a serious note and has filmed himself taking a shower to wash the thick layer of dung that covers his body, in his video, “Pure”. Subodh’s artistic depictions are very real and relatable.
Subodh Gupta’s oil painting, “Still Steal Steel” was sold at a whooping Rs. 4.28 crore at an art auction where bidders from 32 countries competed with each other for over a hundred works of art by Indian contemporaries. His, “Idol Thief”, depicting a theatre of polished pans and other shiny, stainless steel kitchen utensils along with another oil on canvas painting, “Saat Samundar Paar”, went under the hammer for Rs. 3.4 crores and were also the highlights at the Saffronart Autumn online auction.
Subodh Gupta is happily married to artist Bharti Kher and has two children. For his contributions, The Guardian referred to him as the “Damien Hirst Of Delhi”. His artworks have garnered much admiration and applause in India as well as across the globe. Guys, I believe, Subodh Gupta, being a Bihari, has for sure made all Biharis proud, through his artistic creations. Without much avenues, he made things happen and is now known far and wide but the irony is that many people in our own homeland, Bihar, aren’t aware of his great work and achievements. So, it is high time we as a community give him his dues. So, share this article and make him a household name across Bihar.