The tiles surface of this work is painted with miniature saffron plants and speaks of the act of saffronisation that is slowly creeping in our system. Puja perceives the process of crushing beautiful flowers to extract the saffron strands as an act of violence similar to that of saffronisation, which comes with a cost of trampling the blooming ideas of human co-existence and empathy for the ‘other’. Using terracotta roof tiles that are the first protective shelter to brave the violence of eroding time, she exhausts them with cuts, breaks and scratches to express the violence that encumbers history, culture and tradition amidst the political climate. Coating these with marble powder and lime with dusky washes of colour, she expresses both a sense of weariness and hope for rejuvenation. Even so, her treatment is almost gentle and delicate, almost as if she is subconsciously preparing as she inflicts.
Puja Mondal was born in Kolkata. She completed her MVA and BVA degree in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda in the years 2019 and 2017 respectively where she was also awarded the Nasreen Mohamedi scholarship for her work. She is a recipient of awards like the Lt Milind Madhukar Bhade Gold Medal 2019 and the Narendra Gajanan Bhatt Gold Medal 2019 from MSU, Baroda. She received the National Award for painting from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2016. She was a part of the Master’s Practice Studio organised by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2018. She has been a part of several group shows like Zones of Convergence/ Divergence, an online group show presented by Guild Art Gallery, Untold Summer Stories, hosted by Exhibit 320 and In Green Pastures and Urban Streets, curated by Pranamita Borgohain at Art Pilgrim. She was also selected for the Khoj Peers Share programme in 2018. She has been part of several camps and workshops such as Kala Sakshi Memorial Art Camp 2016, Udaipur Lalit Kala art camp, Painting camp at Lucknow by Lalit Kala Akademi. Recently she has received the Artist Support Grant from Khoj Studios, New Delhi.
Puja lives and works in Baroda.