Crowd as a Narrative

Obayya Puttur

An individual is the protagonist in her/his multiples with various identities; s/he is the observer and the observed in Obayya Puttur’s works. As an individual is merged into the crowd, Obayya paints juxtaposed figurative subjects and masses of people, depicting the common, mundane in the most uncommon ways. The recurring existential depictions of the ubiquitous oceanic crowd in India,  along with their distinct local narratives and identities, remain quintessential to Obayya Puttur’s practice. His experience of living in different cities like Mysore, Kolkata and Mumbai has contributed towards the evolution of his artistic observations and processes. He believes that his earlier artistic self has been countered by a new self. For him, the self is in constant state of change, bringing in new while retaining elements from the old elements in his work.

The space between the personal and public overlaps in Obayya’s works as he deeply engages with the urban-rural panorama of India onto his canvas depicting the bulging population overflow; be it at the stations, queues at temples or festivities. These are celebrations of the rituals of the everyday, bringing together people of all faith into a composite identity. For Obayya, these demographies – the overwhelming nature of the masses – are the areas of interest. He navigates by depicting humanity and embodying the multicultural identities in the cities where people are in a constant state of flux.


Obayya Puttur has completed BFA from Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA), Mysore in  2009 and MFA from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 2014. He has participated in a two-year residency at the Kanoria Centre of Arts, Ahmedabad. Currently, he lives and works in Mumbai.


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