On And Off The Rails, Life Is A Canvas For Bijaya Biswaal


At a time when people give up their artistic pursuits to fulfill the hectic demands of their jobs, for Bijaya Biswaal, it has been quite a pleasant contrary. For this self-taught artist, the mundaneness of his job in Indian Railways has given him a chance to explore new places and capture them all in canvas. His journey from being a ticket checker to painter has even let him caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘Wet Platform’ series.

Be it his signature twisted roots or the rain soaked platforms of Indian Railways, his love for nature reflects in each of his work. An artist who loves the very process of painting and creating, an unexpected appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also made his paintings go viral on social media. 

While we find out what fascinates this National and International award winner, he tells MCL about his allure for nature and his perfect job as a TTE posted at Nagpur. 

When was your first brush with art? Who was your inspiration?

As long as I can remember, I was 4 or 5 when I used to pick burnt coal pieces from my mother’s chullah (mud stove) and scribble all over the walls and the floor of our house. At times, I would draw with chalk too. The walls and the chalk gave me a larger surface area to unleash my imagination unlike any other medium. I realized that I had a natural fascination for drawing. Being a curious child, I would explore different styles of sketching and forms from nature and objects of daily life.

Bijay Biswaal_chullah

Pic Courtesy: soseul 

What do you like to portray through your paintings?

I do not set out to paint with a preconceived objective. I just love to paint and enjoy the process. Nature is my muse and one will find its presence in most of my works. When we begin as artists, nature is the primary source of learning. It has been the same with me. Gradually, every artist forms a style of his own.

Bijay Biswaal_nature

Pic Courtesy: soseul 

Is it that Indian Railways too are a dominant inspiration for your paintings?

Not exactly! As a professional artist, I portray different subjects in my paintings. Although my job in the Railways consumes a lot of time, it also provides me the opportunity to see new places; it is a treasure house of subjects to paint. I can create more than ten series of painting with Railways as the theme. That is how the ‘Wet Platform’ series, too, took shape.

Bijay Biswaal_rail

Pic Courtesy: artzolo 

You have been subsequently praised by the PM for your creativity. How does it feel to be acknowledged by him?

His appreciation has made me happier than any other awards I have received. His acknowledgement of my work has helped it reach out to masses. It is a matter of pride for me. 

What is the most loved element in your artwork?

The various facets of nature in all their forms fascinate me- the earth, water, air and fire. However, of late I have been obsessed with the element of water that is reflected in the rain soaked platforms of the Wet Platform series.

Bijay Biswaal_water

Pic Courtesy: artzolo 

Odisha is rich in artistic heritage. You being an Odia, has this land influenced your art?

Born and brought up in Odisha, the essence of Odisha’s soil runs through my artistic veins and has a strong influence on my art. Even though I live in Nagpur because of my job, I make frequent visits to my hometown and nearby villages to capture the scenic beauty of Odishan landscape. The art and culture of Odisha that reflects in my art is a constant reminder of the attachment I share with my roots. One of my upcoming series is based on Pattachitra work. 

Do you feel that Odisha despite being rich in talent has failed to showcase the same before the world?

I completely agree with this. For instance I have travelled to all major cities in India doing workshops and giving demonstrations, but haven’t had a chance yet to visit Bhubaneswar for the same purpose. I am eager to interact with the students and art lovers back home but the art community of Odisha has shown no response to me despite many of my attempts

Bijay Biswaal_painting

Pic Courtesy: facebook 

What are your future plans?

Simply exhibiting my work is not my goal. I dream of going to every corner of Odisha and organise workshops and teach painting techniques to students.