Monday, December 7, 2009
Tribute to Bhupen Burman
(A work by Bhupen Burman in Rukshaan Krishna's collection)
(Bhupen Burman- extreme left- with friends. Picture posted by Moutushi Banerjee in FB)
Bhupen Burman passed away on 6th December 2009. He was a Baroda based young sculptor in his late 30s. For the last few years he had been teaching at the sculpture department of Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda.
The news of his death came to me yesterday morning. Somu Desai who knew Bhupen closely for sometime, was shaken when he conveyed the sad message to me.
When death came in the form of a cardiac arrest, Bhupen Burman was in the sculpture studio at the FFA. He was immediately taken to a private hospital in Fatehganj, Baroda and the death was officially declared by the doctors on arrival.
Bhupen Burman was less known in the art scene than his illustrious namesake, Bhupen Khakkar. But whoever knew the young Bhupen, loved him dearly. ‘No vices, no waywardness. Responsible to the core and devoted to the family’; friends have only good words to say about him.
Bhupen is survived by a wife and a small kid.
Writing about a friend in past tense makes the very act of writing painful. Memories become clouded by unshed tears.
I distinctly remember Bhupen in three different occasions. Latest was on 17th November 2009. I went to the FFA for inviting friends to the Sticker Project that I did at Art Home, Baroda. Bhupen promised to come there and he did come.
In February 2009, I had met him on a similar occasion. In 2008 beginning, at Uttarayan, Baroda, where K.S.R was heading a sculptors’ camp, I met Bhupen. He was assisting the artists including Subodh Kerkar and Rajasekharan Nair.
I don’t know whether I am familiar enough to write about his life or works. But at the face of death, even the faintest of memories become so clear.
Bhupen had never been a close friend. But I remember him as a young bachelor student at the sculpture department at the FFA. I was in MFA final.
The canteen at the FFA is near to the art history department. Hence, all the painting and sculpture students walked in clean diagonals to reach the canteen, where they used to feed themselves, monkeys, dogs and many hungry eyes.
Bhupen also used to spend a lot of time near around the canteen. He drew the diagonals quite often to link up the sculpture department and the canteen.
Most of the post graduates were existential terrorists at that time. Hence we chose not to mingle too much with the juniors. Except for a few doubtful glances my contact with Bhupen was near to nothing.
Years later, we became a little closer than what we used to be.
Today, Bhupen Burman has become a few works, images and scanty information in google search.
But Bhupen has obviously left a lot of impressions on his friends. Moutushi Banerjee posted a picture in Face Book- they all together sharing a frugal dinner.
Everybody dies. May be nobody dies because they leave a lot of impressive moments back in this world- as we see it in this photograph.
Bhupen, death is not the great leveler. It is the great reminder.
I remember you the way I remember all those who had left me at the least expected moments.