As a young artist, Amitava Das was strongly influenced by the existential philosophy of Sartre and Camus as well as the poetry of Jibananda Das and Shakti Bandopadhyay. The existential dilemma of a man thrown into a world as a stranger is characteristic of his work. In his paintings, he introduces a single figure within a dense, turgidly rendered space. Amitava’s affiliation is primarily to expressionism, even as his art appears to spring from an enigmatic subjectivity. In contrast to the fine linear quality of his drawings in which figures are built up through an accumulation of staccato lines, his paintings are realised through strong paint application and an unambiguous role of colour.
In Amitava’s art, there is a collapse of the traditional aesthetics of beauty and equilibrium. His works draw largely from an existential concern over man’s identity and essence. He does not pass moral judgments on whether the figure is a victim, or perpetrator, or even an unexplained presence in a wasteland. In his more recent work, though, the style has changed and become even more abstract. Amitava experiments with medium and materials, sometime even creating new ones. The medium used by the artist for conveying similar ideas becomes central to the content of the works.
In the Seventies, Amitava was part of New Group and Artists’ Forum, and in the same decade won the National Award of the Lalit Kala Akademi. In 1989, he won a fellowship to Germany to study exhibition and graphic design. Amitava lives and works in New Delhi.