Indian artist Sakti Burman is awarded the prestigious French Legion of Honor decoration, in recognition of “his extraordinary work, located at the confluence of French, European and Indian cultures, and the enduring relations he has established between France and India”, announced the French Embassy in Delhi.
On behalf of François Hollande, President of the French Republic, François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, will confer on him personally the highest French civilian distinction, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour), on March 10, at the Embassy residence, in Delhi.
A short film on Sakti Burman will be screened and four of his paintings will be on display on this occasion.
Sakti Burman was born in 1935 in Kolkata, where he studied at the Government College of Arts and Crafts. In the late 1950’s, he went to Paris to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts on a French government scholarship. His connection to this Fine Arts college has remained very strong at both the professional and personal levels: he received the prestigious Foreign Artist Prize (Prix des Etrangers) from the Beaux-Arts, and married one of his peers from the college, the French painter Maïté Delteil.
His art developed in France, where he has now been living for over five decades. His work has been greatly impregnated with the country’s culture and the colourful portraits of French interiors, of furniture and chimneys as painted by Pierre Bonnard, as well as the figures, fruits and landscapes painted by Henri Matisse.
However, Sakti Burman’s work also reflects his Indian roots and his fresh look at the Ajanta murals, or the sculptures and paintings by India’s classical masters illustrating legends, myths, and the life of the Buddha.
A lithographer and master of the French pointillism technique and the marbling effect, Burman can achieve a wide range of textural variations, which make his paintings reminiscent of ageing frescoes as well as French tapestries.
Sakti Burman has also illustrated several books, including a collection of poems by French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. His works have been exhibited in international venues, such as the Galerie des Beaux-Arts and Galerie Doucet et Coutureau, Paris; Piccadilly Gallery, London; Galleria Nuovo Sagittario, Milan; and Galerie Sagar, Zurich.
A philanthropist, he has donated his paintings for raising funds for various causes, including the Alliance française building in New Delhi; the victims of the 2014 floods in Jammu and Kashmir; and for Plan India, an NGO for child development.
“La Légion d’Honneur” (“the Legion of Honour”), created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, is the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order of the Legion of Honour.