Manimanjari Sengupta: Digging deep to color free ladies

Manimanjari Sengupta is a girl who paints ladies. Ladies stress-free in personal areas, ladies squeezed collectively in a metro prepare, ladies hanging out of their balconies. What’s immensely refreshing about these work is how free from the male gaze these ladies seem, and that’s the artist’s intention.

By way of her work, Sengupta explores themes resembling feminine sexuality and need, identification and physique picture, and feminist methods of seeing and being seen. An avid people-watcher, she typically makes comics and zines out of her sketches by penning in her private ideas and observations, that are as relatable as they’re impactful.

Simply this 12 months, Sengupta’s work was seen on the quilt of Gods of Willow by Amrish Kumar (revealed by Roli Books, 2022). She additionally sells her prints on e-commerce platforms like

In a dialog with Lounge, Sengupta talks about how her short-term workspace in her hometown is permitting her room for self-reflection and art-making.

Describe your present workspace to us.

My present workspace is a small desk in a nook of my bed room in my dad and mom’ home. One orange lamp for the vibes, and one other sensible one with white gentle for critical work; a calendar from my sister-in-law with prints of her hand-drawn mandalas; a collage I made again in 2018; a Guerrilla Women postcard from an expensive good friend; a pen stand full of pens, pencils and brushes; a sticky be aware reminding me to put in writing, learn, paint and different sticky notes with essay prompts for residency/grant functions that encourage me; stacks of notebooks and planners; books I am presently studying—these are among the everlasting fixtures on this area. No matter little room is left is occupied by my laptop computer or iPad or paper or canvas, and no matter is my medium of selection for the day/hour. Then there’s the little mattress desk that has been a trusted companion since my days of learning for college exams, which is another workspace.

Manimanjari Sengupta: Digging deep to color free ladies

Manimanjari Sengupta desk, as described.
(Manimanjari Sengupta)

Has it all the time been this fashion? Or has it developed through the years?

This workspace got here into being solely final summer time once I moved again to my hometown (Kolkata) to reside with my dad and mom. That is after I would spent a decade learning and dealing in Delhi. Over time, I’ve been making artwork alongside my day jobs—working as a author for information media publications, a communications affiliate at a growth analysis organisation, after which a full-time illustrato. A pair months in the past, I made a decision to freelance full-time. I used to attract at my work desk, squeezing in sketches between churning out copies and emails. I additionally used to attract whereas on public transport commuting to and from work. I began drawing at a devoted private workspace at my rented house in Delhi solely through the pandemic, and since most of my work are smallish in measurement, I nonetheless do a number of my work sitting in mattress.

How would you outline your every day relationship with this area?

It’s undoubtedly a strained relationship. I do attempt to spend at the very least some hours at my desk every day. However sitting at one place for lengthy intervals of time is a battle for me, so I take frequent breaks and alternate between working on the desk and from my mattress. My workspace could be very cluttered on most days; litter can also be an on the spot demotivator for me, so I’ve to make sure I clear my area fairly often if I need to get something finished. Fact be advised, I don’t draw day-after-day (although I want I might) and I’m nonetheless struggling to seek out some rhythm and construction round my workspace and the way I handle my time.

Inform us about among the eureka moments you’ve gotten had and main works that you’ve finished from right here.

A serious a part of my work revolves round coming to phrases with my very own identities and processing private experiences. So transferring again to my hometown, to the neighbourhood the place I grew up, has been nice for reconnecting with my roots, redefining the relationships I’ve had with the place and its individuals, and making artwork round it. I’ve been engaged on a number of private narratives throughout this time to mirror on how sure experiences I’ve had whereas navigating these areas made me really feel, and the influence they’ve had on me. So the eureka moments I’ve skilled at my present workspace have been these of peak self-reflection, and having the ability to articulate and categorical some advanced ideas within the type of graphic narratives.

In case you have been to commerce on this place for an additional, what would it not be?

That is most undoubtedly a brief area, and I look ahead to transferring my work to a bigger studio area with loads of pure gentle, so I can unfold out my wares and transfer on to creating bigger work.


What is the one factor that has all the time been at your workspace through the years? Why?

A relentless at my workspace must be a black micron pen and a pocket book, as a result of I’m continually scribbling down concepts, generally intentionally, generally absent-mindedly. Additionally, a bottle of water. I’m a sucker for hydration.

The primary artist whose work you adopted intently or generally imitated. What about them appealed to you?

The one formal artwork coaching I obtained was in my teenagers, once I accomplished a diploma course in portray. Throughout these lessons we have been proven books on oil portray, and I used to be fully enamoured with how oil painters portrayed moist streets. I don’t keep in mind the names of the painters, however these photographs have stayed with me. The primary artist whose work made me need to take to artwork to inform tales is Amruta Patil, whom I got here throughout in my undergraduate years. I completed studying her graphic novel Kari (HarperCollins, 2008) in a single sitting. Not solely was it the primary time I encountered a queer story within the graphic narrative format, it was additionally once I first recognised the facility that photographs and phrases put collectively can wield. Over time, I’ve been deeply impressed by the works of Malik Sajad, Maira Kalman, Alison Bechdel, Kruttika Susarla, Indu Harikumar, Adrija Ghosh, Tara Anand and lots of others.

What was the primary medium or software you used within the early years of follow? How has that developed now?

My first medium of selection was oil pastels, and I proceed to make use of them, although now I’ve discovered new, scrumptious methods to make use of them in my work. As a baby I used to additionally make a number of charcoal/pencil sketches, compulsively drawing portraits of members of the family, mates, and David Beckham (he was my first movie star crush). Portraits are nonetheless my strongest go well with, although I get pleasure from making them in color now.

Artistic Nook is a sequence about writers, artists, musicians, founders and different inventive people and their relationships with their workspaces

Indumathy Sukanya is an artist and unbiased journalist based mostly in Bengaluru