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Dance, Music and Architecture are my foundation
as a contemporary artist. I work with a range of media including
sculpture, film, digital image, drawing and painting, and also incorporate
dance and poetry. Ultimately, I search for a synthesis.
In public art and sculpture commissions I aim to create site-specific
pieces that provide a sense of place, have a story to tell or universal
philosophy to illuminate.
Film and digital media allow one to ‘enter’ a four-dimensional
space and express a fusion or synthesis of musical, dance and architectonic
As an architect, drawing has been my major channel of communication.
However, over the last few years I discovered that, although right
handed, I could also draw with my left; both my feet, my mouth and
elbows! This led me to produce a series of drawings I have titled
‘ChoreoGRAPHY’, using movement skills between dance
MA Royal Academy Schools, RBA., RBSA (Winner of ‘Not
the Turner Prize’ 2004)
"As an artist attending my drawing sessions over
many years I have witnessed Saranjit drawing better using his right
or left hand or foot than most people could dream of using their
best normal means! Slightly playful thoughts about him conjure up
an image of each hand and foot expertly wielding a different pencil,
brush and pen etcetera at the same time to pursue his multifarious
creative interests while wondering how he can find any time to sleep!
My specific knowledge of his drawing and painting is only the tip
of the iceberg. I am gradually learning of other aspects including:
winning public sculpture commissions despite a huge open send-in,
innovative choreography/fine art, live and video performance, musical
composition and gigs, creative writing, research into and practical
application of computer-aided design, ‘painting with light’
to illuminate buildings as an art event, college lecturing on a
range of topics. Any one of these aspects could be a big enough
challenge for many people, but to combine all of them is amazing.
Yet this, still, is not the whole story. Like the Leonardo da Vinci
'job application letter' where he famously leaves to the end mentioning
that he also paints – I will say that Saranjit is also a fully
qualified and practicing Architect. It is fascinating to speculate
how his career will cross-fertilise and go from strength to strength"
and CHRONOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT
I was born India in 1960 and came to Britain in 1965.
My ‘adventure’ began at the age of thirteen, when I
read an article on Kandinsky and the word ‘synthesis’.
The word held a fascination for me and sounded scientific as well
as artistic. I fell in love with geometry, woodwork and metalwork.
Early inspiration also came from elder siblings of my primary school
friends. These were exceptional artists and illustrators whose work
had a tremendous influence on me every time I visited their houses.
I began to enjoy drawing, which, I discovered, was also a very good
way of making friends!
In 1979 I set a vocational goal to explore the arts of Architecture,
Poetry, Music, Dance, and Drawing to discover the central ‘thread’
of creativity that links them. I embarked on an architectural qualification
from Bristol University where I found a holistic view of art and
design was encouraged and this formed a springboard for my instincts.
Also, I elected to explore building types for music and performance
arts. I joined the Bristol University Dance Society attending jazz,
tap, ballet and Modern dance – and in the evenings and weekends
dancing in Bristol nightclubs! I began performing and teaching my
own class without formal dance qualifications.
I qualified as an Architect in 1984 and worked in central London
practices for two years. However, I was mostly engaged in designing
social housing and consequently looked elsewhere for a more intensive
creative outlet. I joined a jazz-Latin fusion band, based in Berkshire,
as dancer and percussionist and took Contemporary and Jazz dance
classes at London Contemporary Dance (The Place) and Urdang Dance
Academy in Covent Garden.
I returned to settle in Birmingham in 1986 finding jobs in Community
and Commercial Architecture practices. I also gained a formal dance
qualification ‘Dance Leaders in the Community’ and taught
a weekly Jazz-Funk dance class at the Birmingham Dance Centre (now
the DanceXchange). In 1994 I qualified as a professional fitness.
The course gave one an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.
I became aware of how the body can be sculpted, through exercise,
and moulded like clay.
In 1995 I stepped into the arena of multimedia technology and gained
experience in 2D imaging, video, animation and computer aided drafting.
This was used to focus and elevate my experiences into the conceptual
realm of art, in 1996, through an MA in Interior Design with Information
Technology at the University of Central England, Birmingham. The
MA research paper, “Synthesis as a Conceptual Basis for Design”,
received a Distinction and involved exploring the connections between
dance, music and architectural form using digital imaging, video
and computer animation as the tools. The research was inspired by
and utilized the teachings of Vasily Kandinsky and artists / theorists
of the Modern movement. I wanted to go beyond theory and in to a
physical and psychological experience of this notion of synthesis.
It was at this point, in 1997 I made a commitment to traditional
skills of drawing and painting, working in parallel with use of
1n 1999 I embarked on the ‘Gallery in the Trees’ Public
Artist training course through Birmingham City Council and established
an arts practice in 2000 after a local MP had shown interest in
a sculpture proposal ‘Midland
Beat’. Also that year, I gained my first public art commission,
the ‘Highley Sculpture
Trail’, which won the Shropshire Pride Award 2002.
In 2002 I had the good fortune to be invited to work with RSC (Royal
Shakespeare Company) actor Patrice Naiambana and produce animations
for the backdrop of his one-man, multimedia theatre production ‘The
Tao of Exile’. This was a collaborative work with technical
support from Coventry based Talking Birds and was commissioned by
The COLLIDE Commissioning Programme for Black Artists.
Under the same commissioning programme as above, in 2003, I produced
This was my first attempt at a real synthesis of forms and involved
expressing the energies of live Jazz music and dance fused with
a screen projected backdrop of architectural forms of contemporary
buildings in Birmingham. The performance was held in the ‘Living
Room’, a popular bar in Birmingham City Centre, and featured
Jazz-Latin band ‘Effusion’ with whom I have been playing
since 1984 and Birmingham based Jazz dancers.
My second, dedicated application of synthesis was a short dance
on digital video titled ‘Follow’
which fused percussion, poetry, architecture and dance.
My first solo Exhibition ‘Follow’
(supported by the Arts Council of England, West Midlands) was held
at the RBSA Gallery in Birmingham in May 2004 which brought together
the various strands into a real world setting, juxtaposing drawings,
dance, film, poetry and sculpture into one space. Actors, dancers,
opera singers and musicians were encouraged to enter the space and
interact with the works through spontaneous improvisation.
I have an expanding portfolio of public art commissions, drawings,
paintings and digital work including dance on film and live performance.
My collaborations with other artists have included gallery installations,
light and buildings, theatre and film production.