BIOGRAPHY

Sen started life from a refugee camp in Bengali Bengal juxtaposed with Victorian and French Bengal


Sen as a child with his mother in their Shohidnagar refugee camp home with mud floor, bamboo-strip walls and thatched roof. Sen has always recalled his mother's training: "Poverty should not kill your emotion and your hygienic sense."

His childhood friends were pigs who lived at the entrance of Shohidnagar and were also used for sanitation clean up of the area. The pigs are still there. Sen often visits this area to reminisce on his friendly feelings for the pigs that have inspired a series of his paintings since 2017 in the "Irreverent Melody" theme.

This is the bank of Ganges river that Sen would cross to reach Chandannagar.

Remnants of French architecture, claimed today by the roots of wild trees, is what had inspired Sen when he frequented Chandernagor in his adolescent years in the 1960s.

Since he was 12 years old and persuaded fishermen to take him across the river from his refugee camp to Chandernagor, Sen was inspired to become a French painter. Established as a French colony in 1673, when the French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Mughalsubadar of Bengal, to establish a commercial post on the right bank of the Hoogly, Chandernagor became a permanent French colony in 1688. In 1730, Joseph Francois Dupleix was appointed governor of Chandernagor, the main center of European trade in Bengal. Here are Sen and Renee on the inscribed gate to the city in January 2018.

Whenever Sen goes to Shohidnagar, he pays a visit to this third generation potter's house where as a child he had learnt about pottery. He has always been fascinated how a man can twist mud with his hands to create a form without any mould.

Sen with his childhood friend Haradhan and Katherine Batman who loves Sen's art. She's twice arrived in France from Minneapolis, USA, just to see Sen's exhibitions. Here she very keenly came to see Sen's origins in his Shohidnagar refugee camp where only the small piece of squatted land given to his family remains today.

Sen with Katherine Batman and a local friend at Bell Institution in Kanchrapara. The British had made this auditorium for the entertainment of the managers in their railway wagon factory. The husband of Sen's school teacher mother's colleague was a high ranking officer here. So since he was 8 years old, Sen's mother used to bring him here through her colleague's invitation. That's why, inspite of living in a refugee camp mud house sans electricity or water just 10 kms away, Sen was exposed to Western culture and films like Shakespeare's Hamlet. Even though he did not understand English then, Sen was able to grab nuances of Western society when he came to Bell Institution.

The doll maker was another time-spending place for Sen to experience different types of figurative clay models which were then bathed in vibrant colours.

This is the authentic environment of Bengali Bengal where Sen comes from.


Sen's art study started from this Kolkata college of art with fascinating Victorian architecture. When he was 19 years old, he stepped out towards France.

Kolkata's College Street bookshops were subjects that attracted Sen's sketching pencils during his Calcutta Government Art College days. On arrival in Paris he warmly connected to the booksellers (bouquinistes) along river Seine near Notre Dame cathedral and felt at home here.

Ecole Nationale Superiore des Beaux Arts, the famous art college in Paris where Sen studied. He learnt of the vast character of Western fine arts particularly the breakthrough big bang from Classic art to Modern art in 1870.


Penninghen (Academie Julian) in Paris is where Sen studied applied art that helped him in his initial livelihood generation stage.

Education & Stay in Paris:,
1974-76 École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris
1974-76 ESAG (Academie Julian)
1973 Arrives in Paris with no money


Education & Stay in India:

1971-73 Government College of Arts & Crafts, Kolkata

1969-70 Indian College of Arts, Kolkata

1968 Leaves refugee camp in search of electricity to Noihati town

1954 Born in Sahid nagar refugee camp 50 Kms from Kolkath, Kanchrapara, Bengal

Sen's childhood escape was crossing Hoogly river (Ganges) near his childhood home and landing in the erstwhile French territory of Chandannagar. Here he experienced the stark contrast of French cultural artefacts and architecture against the Bengali ambience he was growing up in.

As a child Sen was more attracted to potters, doll and idol makers than pedagogic education, so he chose to pursue art studies in Calcutta Government College of Art and Craft. Here he experienced the dissimilarity between Victorian Bengal and Bengali Bengal. In art college he learnt that many foreign painters came to France where the French influence shaped their painting styles in very different and optimistic ways. Among such artists are van Gogh, Kandinsky, Max Ernst and Picasso.

He was already drawn closer to France due to his childhood visits to Chandannagar, but this realization of foreign artists being nurtured by France was the real attraction for him to go to France.