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Sutapa Biswas

Sutapa Biswas (b. Santiniketan, India) is a British Indian conceptual artist, who works across a range of media including painting, drawing, film, and time-based media.

Her practice questions the complexities of racial and gendered power relations born out of tangled colonial histories and Biswas has developed a powerful language in her practice that transcends questions of histories, time, and space. 

Biswas graduated with a BA in Fine Art with Art History from Leeds University in 1985, completed a postgraduate degree at the Slade School of Art in 1990 and was a research student at the Royal College of Art. She participated in the emergence of the Black Arts Movement in Britain in the mid-1980s being selected immediately following her graduation for the landmark exhibition curated by Lubaina Himid, Thin Black Line at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 1985. 

Ballad of the Flowers is a new body of artworks which include a combination of paintings, photographic works, and a 20-minute film in part to be shot on location at Norwich University of the Arts incorporating costumes and a set designed in collaboration with students from the Theatre and Fine Art Departments. Expanding upon mercantile colonial histories and questions of gender and class that have underpinned Biswas’ works for four decades, the research and development of this work will specifically explore botanical histories in relation to Britain’s imperial past — in particular the complicated relations of the science of plants to power. Biswas’ research will focus upon and draw from the complex and delicate botanical histories of the flora and fauna particular to Norwich such as the Plantation Garden and Letton Hall, Norfolk, and its coastal regions, in relation to histories of trade and power.