MA Painting student Kundan Mondal is one of this year’s winners of the Wytham Hall Painting Prize. Wytham Hall, a charitable organisation who provide support and accommodation to people with a history of homelessness, chose Kundan’s work to be featured in one of their public rooms in their main house in North Kensington.
Course Leader for MA Painting, Geraint Evans, got in touch with Kundan to recommend that he apply for the prize.
“I submitted quite a large scale painting, but I also did some smaller, fragmented works that made up another larger work,” explains Kundan. “Wytham Hall purchased my painting from me for £1,000 to be hung in their hall where they offer shelter to homeless people. I think the idea behind the prize is to make the hall brighter and more welcoming by displaying artworks there.”
Kundan has used the money he received from Wytham Hall to buy materials to make additional work. “There are exceptionally good materials available here in London, so I ended up buying brushes, colours and pigments,” he said.
Kundan was born and grew up in Calcutta, before moving to Baroda in the western part of India. In Baroda, he studied his first MA and worked as a freelance artist before moving to London to study MA Painting at Wimbledon, after receiving a scholarship from the British Council.
When asked about what he enjoys the most about studying in London, Kundan waxes lyrical about the seemingly endless list of inspiring galleries and museums located in the city.
“London is a fascinating place and the art scene is vibrant,” he says. “In London, the galleries and museums are some of the best I’ve ever seen. And since I’ve been living here, I have also travelled to Paris and Amsterdam and I saw a lot of extraordinary museums there, also.”
The multiculturalism and chance to connect with students from varying backgrounds are more reasons Kundan has enjoyed his time studying in London.
“The course is enjoyable because there are a lot of international students here, so you get to meet people from all sorts of different cultures,” he explains. “As an Indian artist, I find it is important to understand how people from other parts of the world perceive the Eastern notion of art, as it is very different. But I am also very interested in their work, so it becomes a two-way process, an exchange. I think this multiculturalism and open dialogue is one of the best things about Wimbledon.”
At the MA Show, Kundan will be exhibiting some fragmented works, similar to the paintings that he sent to Wytham Hall, as well as some larger canvasses.
“My art practice is very concerned with history and anti-history painting. I reference and appropriate images very much rooted in Indian culture, especially ones inspired by Indian Mughal miniature painting, which is a traditional art form in India. I am also inspired by Company style painting and Kalighat painting, both Indian schools of painting that evolved during the British Colonial Period ,” says Kundan.
“I take these references from the past and present them in a contemporary situation. My influences are an amalgamation of both Eastern and Western cultures. I believe my job is to culminate these two cultures and create a bridge between the East and the West.”
Kundan is particularly looking forward to the process of curating and hanging the works for the MA Show, and seeing how his work will interact with the work of his fellow students.
“I think it will be a very interesting and diverse show. There are a lot of students on the MA Painting course this year from international backgrounds, but there are also students from the UK, so the audience will have an opportunity to experience lots of different types of work. I’m sure it will be very exciting.”
You can see Kundan’s work, as well as work from our other MA Painting, MA Drawing and MA Theatre Design students, at the MA Show.
The MA Show is taking place from Thursday 6 September (private view 6pm – 9pm) – Thursday 13 September. Find a full list of opening times on our website.