By Rupanjali Baruah
Manoj Roy captures the sensation of the world that surrounds him, he does not merely represent it; there is a deeper, underlying thread of meaning in them. He observes urban living in all its limitations that turn human existence so sterile where nature becomes irrelevant to many. And caught in this dichotomy, Manoj Roy recreates his very own fractured universe where he cannot altogether deny divisions of thoughts of social inaction and turmoil. He upholds a world that has turned upside down and so his figures or other visual motifs and attributes are drawn from the very chaos that he sees around him. He interprets them with colour, tone, line movement.
His figures almost invariably narrate a story – caught in the vortex of an action and so the sheer urgency behind each action is made visibly volatile. We experience the artist’s own energy and vigor transferred upon these silhouettes of situations. It is evidenced that certain socio political issues nag his sensibilities and so his angst is justified like something that has to happen on his canvas.
His figures carry the mask of people defeated by an insensitive system and so suffering is inevitable but the artist in him must give a voice to that protest; these are pointers to his own struggling thoughts that raises a pertinent question – is he seeking a solution to these struggles? It is for the viewer to interpret his messages. And so he invites them to be involved to feel how the artist in him is a voice to reckon with social change. Once they go back, they must carry some images to ponder over, let them be food for thought, and this way they become part of the milieu on his canvas to reflect upon the growing sense of ennui or helplessness since a lot is happening; common man is powerless, suppressed at every step. As a result, Manoj Roy’s themes are not mere dry intellectual musings; he reaches at the core of an issue, pulls the viewer alongside him to participate with the whole orgy of unrest. He handles reality with sheer emotional impact.
Manoj Roy’s figures articulate a particular figure of speech, stilted, jarred like the situations that surround them, and then we interpret where his sympathies lie. He mirrors the ideals of a strife-free world at peace within itself by juxtaposing it with the very opposite attributes of a world of chaos and anarchy. His social conscience is seen very much at work in every such situation. There is no utopia for him to escape into, he is in the whirlpool of events that cannot let him be at ease because all that his eyes see are mostly barren, uninviting landscape where doubt and derision only survive, where human grace and humility are at stake, where only a rising shout of protest is all that one can hear. And so he makes his own selection from this whole gamut of change that stares him at his face. The visible world is full of credulous events verging often on the incredible. Through the considerations of various facets of life, he deconstructs reality as itseems to him. Each occasion gives rise to a new language of revolt on his canvas.
Manoj Roy is not content with mere surface of things, he has to delve and draw deeper meanings from each experience and this works as a catharsis to liberate him from the clutches of a stifling world of make believe and of deception. The periphery of his visible world, though somewhat distorted, is ever expanding to include not a mere flat two-dimensional entities with limited boundaries, for instance, as his eyes fix upon a figure, he is more concerned with the surrounding chaos that impacts that figure – so man and action coexist with their imbalance in a particular space.
Life to this visual artist is no will-o-wisp, and this gives a particular pitch to each of his figures or landscapes transferred on his canvas. Line and color are equal tools at his disposal and how he employs them to give a bold narrative lies in his own psyche and this gives an integrated wholeness to his art per se. Heal the world is what we hear him say.
(RupanjaliBaruah is a published author, abstract artist, art critic and translator. She has to her credit several books and journals published at the national and international level. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)