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Arnolfini - est 1961
image: Sutapa Biswas_Magnesium Bird 2004
Detail digital moving image, single screen projection


Sutapa Biswas (b. 1962), is a British Indian artist, whose work is recognised nationally and internationally. Her art engages with questions of identity, race and gender in relation to time, space and history. Her works are inspired by oral histories, literature and art history. She is particularly interested in the ways in which larger historical narratives collide with personal narratives.

Biswas was included in two exhibitions that toured to Arnolfini in the 1990s, both of which played an important role in promoting de-colonial discourses within British art: The Circular Dance, in 1991, an exhibition of British Asian women artists; and Disrupted Borders, in 1993, curated by Sunil Gupta, which sought to escape the European rhetoric of modernism with a ‘new internationalism’ approach. Arnolfini is delighted to invite her back in our sixtieth anniversary year, to present new and existing work: Magnesium Bird (2004), a film work created as a poetic and ritualised response to the death of the artist’s Father; and Zoo – Edge of the Indian Ocean, 20.1990° S, 57.7823° E (2021), a new painting, commissioned by Arnolfini, which overlaps botanic and colonial histories in Mauritius.

Biswas’ works have been exhibited and reviewed widely, and are held in numerous collections including: TATE Collections, Arts Council England, Sheffield Museums and Art Galleries, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, and Reed College (USA). In 2021 she will premier Lumen, a new work co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art with Art Fund support through the Moving Image Fund for Museums, additionally supported by Autograph and Arts Council England.

In Gallery 5/Dark Studio at Arnolfini.

A colour photograph artist Sutapa Biswas in front of an out of focus work entitled Zoo – Edge of the Indian Ocean, 20.1990° S, 57.7823° E, 2021
The Art of the Maker: Sutapa Biswas

On Thursday 10 February, as part of our Art of the Maker series, there will be a special screening of Lumen, followed by an in-conversation between Sutapa Biswas, the writer and curator Paul Clinton and curator at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery Julia Carver.

Please click here for details of Art of the Maker and to book a ticket.

Click here to learn more about Sutapa Biswas’ Lumen



Sutapa Biswas: Exhibition Slideshow

Look at the works in the exhibition through our slideshow:


All images credit: Lisa Whiting Photography for Arnolfini 2021


Audio Descriptions
There are audio descriptions of the works in the exhibition, accessible via QR Code in Gallery 5

You can also hear them here: