Born in 1969 in a small town in India, graduated with a fine art degree from Gujarat in 1992.
Somu Desai, as well as being an artist has the enviable quality of being able to engage and enthuse people to get involved in the many art projects he has organized through his passion for art.
Living in a large area of India renowned for its mango irrigation, which is also surrounded by one of the biggest industrial zones in Asia, Somu works using industrial media and expresses issues that he has experienced in his day-to-day life. Using the method of visual communication he is keen to emphasize and bring awareness to the viewer of the consequences of these actions.
Somu has worked extensively on often large-scale public projects, and has participated in camps, workshops and residencies. He has also played a key role in organizing some of the major camps, events and residences in India, and is also collaborating with a Scottish artist to arrange a series of organize international artist residencies named “Ceangal” in the rural Highlands of Scotland.
Somu had lived and operated from a small town in India where he has a studio named “Zero Kilometer”, where young artists can do their art practice and attune themselves for the wider art world. Somu Desai has showcased his works in India and abroad. Presently Somu Lives and works from Delhi capital city of INDIA
Presently Somu is an artist director of an international nature art project, GLOBAL NOMADIC ART PROJECT (GNAP) – INDIA and steering Group Member of GNAP International.
Camp / Workshop
2004 Rupda artist association workshop
2005 Kala Guru Jasubhai Naik art foundation
2007 Gujarat kala Pratisthan
2007 Sandarbh site-specific workshop
2008 monsoon magic painting workshop
2009 Sandarbh site-specific workshop
2010 Sandarbh site-specific workshop
2009 FALCAT Udwada
2010 FALCAT Kutch
2012 Ceangal= connection artist residency, Gairloch, Scotland
2009 Vibrant Gujarat, Mural project
2009 Art Routes, ways of seeing
2009 FALCAT Udwada
2010 FALCAT Kutch
2010 Still in Baroda Thrill in Baroda.
2011 Beinn Eighe, schools participatory project, Scotland
2004 Rupda Artist association, Daman
2005 Kala Guru Jasubhai Naik art foundation, Gujarat
2007 Gujarat Kala Pratisthan, Gujarat.
2007 Samsara arts, Hyatt, Mumbai.
2007 New Gujarat contemporaries. Gallery Open eye dreams, Kotchi, karela.
2007 Art within reach, Gallery Hyatt, Mumbai.
2008 Intimate earth, Silvassa Art Gallery.
2009 video Wednesday, Gallery Espace- Delhi
2011 cross currents, gallery Art Positive, Delhi
2011 Tree of life Edinburgh, Scotland
2011 Mixed Show pre Ceangal show, Inchmore, Inverness
2011 Sofa, Indian Art Festival- Mumbai
2012 wild about Gairloch, Kinlochewe
2012 United Art Fair. Pragati Madan, Delhi
2014 Biography- Delhi
2014 Make/Do – Delhi
2014 Global Nomadic Art Project – Korea
2014 Pallet- Delhi
2015 Global Nomadic Art Project.
2016 GNAP, IMumbai
2017 Hub 9, Baroda
2017 Hindustan Times, IMAGINE, Delhi
Some major projects-
Vibrant Gujarat a Mural project, 2009
Somu Desai collaborated with 8 young talented artists from small town fine art collage and executed 10,000 sq ft mural in a factory shed in Vadodara, celebrating the theme of “Vibrant Gujarat”. The mural, painted at the new Art Home Project Space situated on the premises of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GDIC), which was thrown open for public viewing from 18 February 2009 and kept it open for public for one year.
Art Routes – Ways of Seeing
Myself Somu Desai (artist), JohnyML (art critic and curator), and Feroze Babu (Photographer and Web designer), are undertaking a road trip through six states in India, namely Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra.
The trip starts on 18th February 2009 and we were expected to touch base in Baroda by 7th March 2009.Our aim is to visit small town art colleges, art and craft production centers and make visual and literary documentations.
The idea of this trip came to us almost a year back when we visited an art college in Amalsad, Gujarat. We found so many talented students there but they were not aware of what was going on in contemporary art in India or elsewhere. Linguistic limitations, lack of access and lack of facilities and opportunities are the major reasons why these talents never make it big in the art scene.
This trip also aims at suggesting some solutions for these problems. We would like to make a detailed report on these institutions and send it to the major galleries across the country so that they could help these students and institutions in whatever manner suits to them.
( www.artroutes.com )
FALCAT- 2010- co curetted project
FALCAT was an attempt to familiarize with the nuances of Indian culture constructed by various streams of people and their lives. The organizers of this camp are not looking at an exotic location. On the contrary, they are looking at a historical place where a defining community, Parsees, came and settled in mid 18th century AD.
The curatorial aim of the camp was to bring the artists closer to a culture, which is very insular and exclusivist in nature. It also aims at debating the cultural exclusivity and purity against the backdrop up of our politico-cultural debates, citing the Parsee community in Udwada as a case study.
The artists who participate in this camp are expected to visit the place and move around, make contacts with people, document the place extensively and create works.
Still in Baroda, Thrill in Baroda– is a sticker project where artist from Baroda were invited to a venue and by using commercial stickers on wall artist has to express their reason why they get settle in Baroda after they get Graduate from MSU Fine Arts Faculty.
Finding A Lost Culture And Tradition (FALCAT) Kutch– an art workshop of 28 artists to investigate Banni regain of Kutch and develop body of work base on the understanding gained.
Sandarbh Nature art residency– in year 2011, 15 artist visited tribal forest are of Dadra Nagar Haveli (UT) for 15 days and worked with naturally found material in forest and did site specific art in nature.
Beinn Eighe school participatory art project, September 2011
Gairloch based artist Lynn Bennett-Mackenzie & Indian artist Somu Desai are involving some local school children in the area to create an installed artwork on the Beinn Eighe nature reserve near Kinlochewe. The public was able to explore and discover the installed art-works after the 8th of September on
“We intended to involve local school children to create a body of art that was be integrated into the environment around the Beinn Eighe nature trails. This will allow and encourage them, and visitors to the reserve, to consider the mediums they will be using and the surroundings it will be placed in. For this first project, naturally found objects was been coated with foil and installed in strategic positions around the visitor trails so that people will seek them out or come across them, and consider about how nature can be manipulated and how the perception of it can be changed in a very simple manner. We are delighted with the positive responses we got from everyone, SNH have been very enthusiastic about what we were doing.”
Ceangal– year 2012 and 2013 nature art residency in North West highlands of Scotland, in collaboration with Scotland Nature Heritage.
Palette festival, art installations in park- year 2014 Somu has curated installation art project in Nehru Park, New Delhi
Global Nomadic Art Project India– 2015 TREES invited 25 international and 10 Indian artist to Gujarat, who travelled from one destination to another for 25 days like nomads, and respond to area with found material and body, after producing work they move to other destination leaving work behind in nature and. Finally we had 10 days workshop in ITM Universe, Vadodara where every artist produced a body of work from the experience they gain while travelling. GNAP is well documented and acknowledged project on various levels.
Work-Innovation- Creativity Art School (WICAS),
Work-Innovation- Creativity Art School (WICAS), a part of Mahatma Gandhi labour Institute (MGLI) has collaborated to assist Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on River Front Flower Festival January 2017 in executing Green Sculpture’s Armature Framework, by involving a team of artist to execute ‘armature frames’ of the Green Sculptures. The ‘armature frames’ of Sculptures. MGLI has involved students from ITI under advance skill development to work with the artists, which is a new way of looking at labour with aesthetic values.
Involving Students from Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) has been a unique perspective to Flower Festival and develop skilled artisans for City to produce environmental art on the one hand and sensitise citizens about clean and green city, global warming and climate change issues on the other.
Artist Somu Desai who leaded this project reports that 40 students from welding department of ITI Dholka and ITI Sharkhej are trained as potential artisans to produce sculptures for Ahmadabad and Gujarat.