Fine artist, poet, baul singer and an actor from Kolkata, Papia Ghoshal is a versatile personality who has built up a prominent brand name in the international art and poetry scenario. She is known for her uniquely alternative style, boldness and imagination as well as for her distinguished raw voice while singing traditional Baul and other rare forms of Bengali folk songs.
Her way of life, she believes has much in common with the ancient philosophy and practices of the Bauls of Bengal. Papia, being a bohemian, chose to be based in Bohemia, Prague, surrounded by the nature, where the Zavist, holy Celtic Oppidum, river Vltava and the forest mingle in ecstasy. She also loves to spend quiet moments at her ashram, a musical & meditative space in the outskirts of Kolkata in the winter.
Papia Ghoshal is a graduate from the University of Calcutta in political science, sociology, Indian classical music, Rabindra sangeet and folk music, followed by master’s degree in Indian music. Later she did her further studies in fine arts from Merton College in London and dedicated herself to Indian art. Papia was an apprentice of the Indian legendary painter Prakash Karmakar for over 15 years.
She is the international editor of ‘The London Miscellany’, a British heritage magazine, dedicated to art & literature, first founded in 1825.
Her artistic career began at an early age, when she managed to establish and build one of the most successful companies in Calcutta focused on furniture, interiors, exteriors, landscape design and execution called ‘Intrique’. Later she started dedicating her time fully to fine arts, music and poetry. She started traveling extensively, exploring art and culture of other countries, particularly Barcelona, Paris and London.
At this time, at the turn of her vital life interests, she met film director Bappaditya Bandopadhyay, who found the inspiration and motivation in her creativity for his film works. Their collaboration resulted in the feature film Shilpantar, screened at Sofia International Film Festival in Bulgaria and many other international festivals, and Kantatar (Barbed Wire), screened at Raindance International Film Festival in London and many others in Europe and India.
Papia was invited to introduce the feature film Shilpantar (Colours of Hunger) as the co-producer and presenter at the Art Film Fest in Slovakia in 2003. This was just a step away from Czech Republic, when she was invited by Gender Studies, Prague to exhibit her painting in 2004.
This was followed by different series of exhibitions in Prague including ‘Triennale’, National Gallery in Prague, Gallery Lapidarium, Gallery Miro, National Museum in Prague, Art Prague and many others.
In 2007, the European Union of Fine Arts Award was bestowed upon Papia for her contribution to art and culture in Europe.
Papia exhibited her paintings in 2008 at the AIFACS Gallery, organized by the Ministry of Culture of India in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in India.
In the same year in 2008, Papia received the prestigious Medal of Franz Kafka Award at the House of Kafka (Kafkův Dům) in Prague.
Papia’s work is a fascinating mixture of traditional Indian philosophy and the European surrealist movement. She often challenges norms and overcomes boundaries between reality & fantasy. On the contrary, she merges those together, from which her own unconventional style is created. The strange, almost magical transformations of the human form goes beyond anthropology, to enter the realm of poetic metamorphosis.
Using her intuitive knowledge, Papia challenges the interpretation of visible and invisible worlds. The intensity of her insight is powerfully pronounced in the characters she develops. The vibrant use of colours on the canvas is as full of energy as, according to tantrism, the cosmos is full of energy. Out of those colours emerge powerful messages, where subjects are stripped of their social conventions, hypocrisies and taboos.
Papia Ghoshal, hailing from Bengal, is blessed with the soil where poetry exists as a way of life. Bengal has given birth to brilliant poets like Rabindranath Tagore and many others. Poetry forms a natural and very strong part of Papia’s work and her existence. It also forms one of the very important inspirational sources for her painting. “As a truly Renaissance figure Papia Ghoshal transience her creativity into the handsel in films, as film maker and script writer” (quoted by Dr Shibnarayan Ray).
Through poetry, Papia celebrates and worships a woman and freely explore all aspects of womanhood. As a matter of fact, freedom forms the main feature of her poetry, as much as serenity. All is then directed to Love as the purest manifestation of being. Thus she unconsciously addresses all phenomena, which were most worshiped by surrealists in the boom of their movement and which have not yet been fully grasped.
Papia, who’s leading her life following the path of the Bauls, also creates her own lyrics which talk about her knowledge about the Baul philosophy and practices. She composes songs originating from her rhythms of poetry.
Her poems takes her readers to the visual imageries of her paintings and vice-versa. Papia Ghoshal, being a passionate artist who loves to experiment with many different ideas, sometimes can be seen driving the broad gauge locomotive steam train with passengers, in the west Somerset, England! She loves the colour of the fire while driving.
Papia achieved various prestigious international and national awards for her contribution to contemporary Fine Arts and poetry:
× Medal of Franz Kaka
× Mother Theresa International Award