Lumen - Sutapa Biswas, 2021
Lumen - Sutapa Biswas, 2021

Shockingly we’ve been in the North East for over four months now and last weekend was our first visit to The Baltic since our move. I had no idea what the current exhibitions were so wandered up the floors until I hit something of interest.

Floor 3 currently has a fascinating exhibition by multi-media artist Sutapa Biswas (who I knew nothing about until I walked into the gallery). But it pushed a lot of my buttons (film, paintings, birds, India).

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a 30 minute film “Lumen” that is a reflection on colonialism, migration, partition, upheaval and lots of themes that I probably didn’t pick up on - it’s a beautifully filmed and framed monolgue interspersed with archive footage of India’s colonial past.

My mum grew up in pre- and post-colonial India, coming to the UK in 1950 - so it was hard for me to not imagine the monologue being delievered by her. I have no idea if the experiences of the Biswas family bore any relation to that of my mum’s - but can’t believe that the sort of emotional and geographic upheaval both went through didn’t have some similarity.

Lumen (clip, 2021) - Sutapa Biswas

The exhibition has other works - and my more traditional eye was taken by Time Flies with its beautiful paintings of birds, some unfinished.

Time Flies - Sutapa Biswas, 2004...
Time Flies - Sutapa Biswas, 2004...

The exhibition is on until March, I think I need to go back to figure more out.