Niranjan Kamatkar is an established filmmaker and artist who delivers art projects and services that profile the culture, identities and issues for marginalized communities.
A brief bio-sketch note: 'Niranjan Kamatkar is a founder and artistic director of London’s LGBTQI cross art annual event GFEST – Gaywise FESTival since its beginning in 2007 and also for the organiser arts charity Wise Thoughts from 1999. He has had a very successful first solo show of his art works in Mumbai, India in 1985 and followed by in 1986 (Mumbai), 1988 (Pune, India). His first exhibition at the age of 19 was covered on Indian TV, inaugurated by India’s former Union Home Minister and works from his shows went in private collection in India, USA etc., as well as in corporate collections including Air India. Niranjan initially trained as a painter/ textile designer, and went on to complete a postgraduate course in mural painting from one of India's notable universities – Banasthali.
After migrating to UK nearly two decades ago, he has shown his gay and Asian identity politics based multimedia, digital film and visual art works at BFI Southbank (NFT), Northampton Museum & Gallery, South Bank Centre, Waterman’s, the Drill Hall, Wadham College (Oxford), Lauderdale House Gallery, Yorkshire Playhouse etc., in a number of solo and group shows. He has also shown a smaller work in Edinburgh Festival in 2005 which was sold within minutes on the opening day.
He has also produced and directed performances and feature films; one of his feature films on South Asian gays was released internationally in USA, Australia, Europe etc., to a critical acclaim.
Niranjan Kamatkar: 1997 to 2017, select works over 20 years.
As a gay man of South Asian origin in the UK, the work has travelled along with me on a journey of self discovery as an artist and a multimedia arts practitioner. I hope the elements of my political beliefs are reflected through my personal self, shaped by the environments and times.
The range of media (including films) is born out of frustrations of living and trying to express myself in the mainstream world. I believe in seeking freedom, looking for social justice and living with a feeling of growing discontent or a lack of acknowledgment. The work aims to generate an understanding about my being, my existence and the cultural background that I come from.
However, like me, the work strives to be pacifist, shy to bring ‘in your face’ conflict to the forefront. Yet, I think it may be due to my limitation as a practitioner. I also want to believe that I am like a droplet of water moving under the enormous cross-currents in the ocean of huge life and its cycles. I try to avoid being misunderstood further by striking a balancing note.
I believe my work can live, breathe within communities, wherever it can go it shows the ‘dents and lumps’ of their influence.