• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2025

    South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

    16 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 181

    Ashim Purkayastha (b. 1967)

    He Is Not My Enemy

    Price Realised  


    Ashim Purkayastha (b. 1967)
    He Is Not My Enemy
    titled and dated 'HE IS NOT MY ENEMY 2004' (on the reverse)
    acrylic on canvas
    65¾ x 59½ in. (167 x 151 cm.)
    Painted in 2004

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    Tampering with and defacing revenue stamps, Purkayastha provokes a public debate. A revenue stamp stands as the guarantee of a contractual obligation between the citizen and the state. It speaks of authority and is represented as an idealized symbol of nation. In He is not my Enemy the artist juxtaposes his own self-portrait with that of Gandhi. It is as if the artist is in dialogue with the father of the nation. However, the gaze of both parties speaks of the inability to understand or communicate with each other. Each is unyielding in his conviction and this confrontation is validated by the revenue stamp; yet the inscription He is not my Enemy contradicts this. Neither Gandhi nor the artist gazes at the viewer, for they do not need to justify their differences, nor do they seek the viewers' support for their stance.


    Mumbai, Attached Wings, Sakshi Gallery, 2004
    New Delhi, Gandhi/man without Specs, Khoj International Artists Association, 2004