Sakti Burman studied at Government School of Art, Calcutta, and later at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris. Based in Paris for long, his works reflect the long time influence of Europe. In his work, often exploring fantasy and fable, he brings together the feel of Italian Renaissance frescos and Ajanta cave paintings. For a long time now, he has foregrounded the figurative, which had receded from the art scenario in recent decades. India, though, continues to inhabit his work in the form of imagery from mythology or popular culture. Birds and animals, dream imagery and mythological figures such as Shiva’s son Kartikeya, alluded to as a peacock-riding man, are frequent occurrences.
Burman is known for the delicate marbelling-like effect on his canvases, discovered accidentally one day when water spilled on an oil canvas and caused a delicate and filigreed dispersal of oil, an effect he has been painstakingly recreating ever since. Incredibly, he brought the same effect to his prints, made in the early part of his career, achieving the marbelling on the medium surface – stone or wood or metal – through a laborious and time-consuming technical process in a close collaboration with his printmakers, incidentally, also employed by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall.