Bulbul Majumder carries India in her heart.
A computer software engineer at Montana Tech by day, Majumder is also the mother of three kids, but she still finds time to paint. She had a solo show at the Imagine Butte Resource Center (IBRC) in June and she brought a taste of India to the Mining City.
Majumder paints American settings, too, but when she decided to paint images from her native land for the IBRC show, she turned out 30 works within just a handful of months.
But, she doesn’t miss her native country. She doesn’t have to.
“I’m carrying India with me in my heart,” she said last week. “It’s inside me.”
What most attracts Majumder is the play of light or the reflections one can see in water. Many of her India-inspired paintings feature rivers.
“Your picture talks; it gives you some message,” she said.
Her show, mostly painted in watercolors with some charcoal mixed in, displayed a diverse look at India. India has mountains and desert and ocean. It has Hindu as one of its many eastern religions. It has tea plantations, it has multiple wonders of the world, and it has very different people speaking different languages.
Majumder tried to capture it all.
She painted a modern-day desert dweller bent over pottery in an India desert. She recreated the Taj Mahal, a tomb built by an Indian emperor in the 1600s, and its reflection emanating from the River Ganges flowing beside it. She painted the green steppes of a tea plantation and captured the ferocity of a Bengal tiger, India’s national animal.
“This was my time reaching my soul,” she said. “It will come how I’m thinking in my head.”
Majumder says her work is a conversation. It was a conversation that meant something to other India immigrants to the U.S. Majumder said relocated India immigrants came from as far away as Rochester, New York, to see her exhibit. Majumder’s family is one of four in the Mining City from India.
But, she is not only interested in painting what she knows best — the India she carries in her heart — but also Montana and other American imagery and landscapes. Her upcoming participation in a group showing at the Main Stope Gallery on South Montana Street in November and December will be focused on work from Yellowstone Park.
“I draw everything. Whatever clicks in my mind,” she said.
Majumder moved to Butte with her husband, Brahmananda Pramanik, a mechanical engineering professor at Tech, five years ago. She has two master’s degrees, one obtained in India and one she received at the University of Mississippi.
Living in Butte for five years, the 44-year-old started painting when she was four years old. She studied art and painting from eighth through twelfth grade but put her creative energies aside to pursue practical degrees and become a wife and mother. But local encouragement and a trip to India caused her to start again recently.
Olivia Everett, founder and director of the IBRC, said Majumder brought a really strong cultural identity and brought “extreme joy” and “cultural pride” to the gallery on West Park Street.
“She’s fearless,” Everett said. “She’s a deeply courageous artist.”