Mritunjay Mondal spent his childhood in a little village called Dhaltitha in West Bengal. It was a village is full of natural splendour, the Ichhamoti River flowed right by his home and was surrounded by green fields on every side. Mondal remembers have been drawing from a very young age, he would prefer to play with his pencils and paper rather than with children his own age. It was the river water, afternoons rowing a boat and the earthly tunes from the flutes of the shepherd's children that influenced his transition to adulthood. It was his brother who nutured his passion for art by giving him a box of watrcolors - the colors with which he made my first painting, and thereby begining his journey into the world of art. "Armed with my watercolors, pencils and paper, I would try to give form to the intangible pleasures of the river, the fields and songs of the flutes."
His brother Samir Mondal, also an established name in the feild of art and his paintings were instrumental in his growth as a painter. Mritunjay Mondal left his village for the first time to study at the Art College in Kolkata. There he found himself in an environment and culture far removed from the natural splendor of Dhaltitha. The new setting started another set of paintings that reflected the new reality. He was exposed to the works to many great painters, whose works helped Mondal direct his energies and crystallise what he wanted to paint, why he wanted to paint certain subjects and whether his reactions to the subject would become part of a painting or not. Five years later, he travelled to the city of dreams, Mumbai. This was a third, even more variegated reality and even further removed from his little village. " I was at the confluence of mountains and the sea, of the rich and the poor, of dreams and reality. Once more, the subjects of my paintings extended to capture this new place." It was in Mumbai, at Jehangir Art Gallery, that Mondal had his first solo painting exhibition.Landscapes and natural beauty are subjects that the artist often returns, driven by his desire to relive the idyllic days by the Ichhamoti, in the lap of nature. "My paintings are mostly realistic as I try to articulate experiences that touch me on my canvas.I still do not attempt abstract paintings because there is still so much to understand and so much to grasp in the real world." When the artist paintings the realities of daily living come to him naturally, they are often comparisons between the craggy realities of big city life versus the cozy, indolent warmth of Dhaltitha. "Sometimes I reallylike living in Mumbai, at others I tire of the pace and want to return to my roots, to live life at a more thoughtful pace, next to the familiar waters of the Ichhamoti. Back where I roamed free, where everything between the land and the sky was my domain, unlike the ten-by-twelve confines of the city." These emotions were reflected in the artists latest show, titled In Between, showcased these emotions.
Mondal chooses his mediums according to the subject, "When the subject or mood is complicated or is something I have internalised over a long period of the time, I use acrylic. The medium gives me time to pause, to reflect and to slow the pace so that I can mould the painting better." Though the artist maintains that watercolor is his first love, as the medium has its own tempo, " When a white paper is dabbed with color, the hue takes its own course. Which gives it the form of a living medium, which evades complete control and brings an organic element into the painting. Not only is the medium challenging, its pace is perfect for capturing my experiences which often occur within a fraction of moment. It's almost as if watercolors'pulsate to the same rhythm as life around me. Water color also changes its rhythm and has matched the indolent cadence of the Ichhamoti, the depth of the Ganges and the limitless heartbeat of the Arabian Sea as I've moved from one to another."
Through all the changes and settings, Mondal has alwas tried to paint positive subjects. "There is enough strife and worry to keep us busy. But if I can bring even a moment's relief, release or peace to the viewer, my painting has succeeded. Also I try and keep my painting's message simple and clear. To keep them where a viewer might perceive them easily and see the optimism shine through. In the process, sometimes the painting gets suffused by a glow of hope which comes from within the painting, shining through on its own."