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Utpal Datta: A Journey Through Assamese Culture

Utpal Datta is a known photographer in Assam for his dedicated photographic work since 1975. But his first-ever solo photo exhibition was held only this month. His exhibition at Guwahati Artists Guild from 8th March to 12th March ’24 was a crowd puller, pulling crowd people from diverse sections of the society. This exhibition served as a visual journey through the rich tapestry of Assamese culture, introducing the viewer to iconic figures who have left an indelible mark on the region’s artistic landscape. From the revered musician Bhupen Hazarika to the soul-stirring singer Deepali Borthakur, each portrait captured the essence of these luminaries, offering glimpses into their lives and legacies. Datta’s ability to infuse depth and emotion into his photographs brought these figures to life, eliciting admiration and reverence from the audience.

The exhibition also paid homage to equally significant individuals, such as Homen Borgohain, Birubala Rava and Jadav Payeng, whose contributions to literature, society and environmental conservation, respectively, have made them remarkable heroes. Through Datta’s lens, their moods and emotions were illuminated, inviting viewers to reflect on the diverse sphere of human experiences that shape Assamese identity.

In addition to celebrating human achievements, Utpal Datta’s photography eloquently captured the sublime beauty of Assam’s natural landscapes. From the serene riverbanks of the Brahmaputra to the sun-kissed beaches of the Andaman Islands, each photograph exuded a sense of tranquillity and awe-inspiring majesty. Datta’s keen eye for detail and composition transported viewers to these breathtaking locales, inviting them to contemplate the inherent harmony between humanity and nature.

Beyond scenic vistas, Datta’s exploration of nature extended to the bustling markets and everyday scenes of an Assamese village, where the vibrancy of life unfolded against a backdrop of bustling activity. Through his lens, even the mundane became extraordinary, as ordinary vendors and artisans were elevated to the status of cultural ambassadors, their stories woven into the fabric of Assamese identity.

Utpal Datta’s photography exhibition stands as a testament to the power of art to transcend boundaries and foster cultural exchange. Through his evocative portraits of Assamese icons and breathtaking landscapes, Datta invites viewers to embark on a journey of discovery, forging connections that bridge the gap between strangers and kindred spirits. In a world marked by division and discord, Datta’s work serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us of the universal language of beauty and the transformative power of human connection. Datta is an acclaimed film-maker, critic, and author and his photography is an extension of his creative pursuit.

Acclaimed filmmaker Biswajeet Das expressed his artistic support to Datta’s work with a short film titled ‘Fragments in Time,’ further immortalizing the essence of the exhibition for a global audience.
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