Interview With Artist Samir Sarkar On His Army Background & Meeting Mother Theresa

Interview With Artist Samir Sarkar On His Army Background & Meeting Mother Theresa

They say every artwork has a story, but if you look at Samir Sarkar’s work, it’s like a poetry written with colors. Using strong visual elements and bright colors, his artwork makes you want to just sit on your couch and get lost in the fantasy world.

Here is our interview with Samir, an emerging star in the Indian Art scene.

The Army makes you travel

When you are in the army, you home is always mobile; you may have to shift base as and when required. Most kids tend to hate this fact, they need to leave their friends behind, move to a new school and start life all over again. But, Samir was a dreamer; to him the pleasure of traveling and seeing new cities was too strong to regret leaving the old behind.

With his dad being in the army, he moved from one place to another. He went from Agra to Shimla, explored many more cities before finally settling down in Kolkata. All along, each city helped him grow his visual experiences, picking up bits and pieces as he moved along.

According to him, “Traveling so much as a kid forced me to get better at communication and understanding human behavior.” This has paid him good dividend, as it allows his work to connect with the people and reflect on the society he lives in.

Where it all started

“When I was in class 8th, I had a classmate Raju who was brilliant at art. His work fascinated me. It made me wonder how he could use simple stokes to make something so beautiful.”

Inspired by his friend, Samir started on his own journey as a little curious kid looking for a medium to tell his stories.

While he started learning by himself, living in Kolkata (a city in India), he happened to be residing in the vicinity of some leading Indian artists. Persistent to learn and improve his work as a 16 year old, he would land up at their house, asking for advice and suggestions to improve his work. That dedication paid off and he joined a diploma of visual art program at the Academy of Fine Arts (Kolkata).

Soon he was doing solo shows and exhibitions, building his own signature style.

Tomorrows Foundation

In 1996 Samir met Mother Teresa. He was so moved by what she was doing, that he stared working with her NGO, Tomorrows Foundation as one of the founding members to help kids on the streets.

Tomorrows Foundation is committed to all-round development of children from underprivileged backgrounds to help them become self-reliant and enjoy their right to a dignified life. Samir was instrumental in development of the TF Card Project, a way to bring about economic independence for the children from Kalighat brothels (red light district in Kolkata, India), streets and slums.

Working with the organization for many years, helped him a great deal as an artist. It allowed him to better understand human emotions and the power of bringing a smile on someone’s face.

According to Samir, “I never understood humans could have such humility and simplicity. When you work with these children, they would tell you stories, which are often filled with pain. It makes you appreciate life a lot more.”

It gives you the strength to wake up everyday and want to bring a positive change in the world you live in.

Big Hat, Big Responsibility


Besides the story and the bright colors, one of the most fascinating things about Samir’s artwork is the hat. When you look at his work, it makes you wonder, why all the protagonists in his work have adorned something on the head.

Samir believes that the hat is a symbol of power. Its helps an individual stand out, but it’s more than just a fashion statement. It puts an additional responsibility on the bearer, sending out a message to the world, giving hope to people from different walks of life.

“You can see the hat everywhere around you. In the old days, the kings wore the crown, now we have the pope and the police wearing it. It’s a symbol of power and in most of my paintings; these hats bring the characters in the center-stage and help him be the catalyst for a change.”

Faces, Music and Family Bonding

Like a story, Samir’s paintings have a lot of themes and messages, but they all revolve around strong emotions and human relationships.

One of the most peculiar things about his paintings is the face. He says that many of his paintings have two faces, which depicts multiple characteristics that each individual depicts when interacting with different people – “We are not the same when we deal with different people. Humans have learnt to react depending on who they are engaging with.”

Often, when he takes a blank canvas, he does not have a defined goal for what he wants to paint. But, two main themes that come out from his paintings are music and family. According to him, “Music brings harmony of life and helps connect our senses.”

As far as family is concerned, he says that “I have seen so many broken families, that I try to show family bonding, affection and love, hoping that maybe my painting would bring about a positive change.”

Source of Inspiration

Samir’s biggest source of inspiration is his family, his parents who have supported him, his wife and son who are always there for him. But, more than his own family, his greatest inspiration is the hope he sees in humans. That hope encourages him to do something for the broken families, helping them see the light in the beautiful world we live in.


Bigger canvas, brighter colors and more intriguing stories; we will be looking forward to see the paintings of Samir Sarkar in the near future.


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