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Sunil Puljhun 

(Suriname, b. 1978) 


Sunil Puljhun was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, to a family of Hindustani descent, and studied at Paramaribo’s Nola Hatterman Art Academy from 1995 to 2000. His early work focused primarily on beauty as a subject, but shifted over time to thornier issues of slavery, oppression, war, and hunger. As his work evolved, his canvases grew darker, marshaling a palette of black, grays, and white with red accents, to make his messages more direct. He also experimented with collage, as in Untitled (2011), which addresses issues of race, perhaps drawn from his own experiences as an Indo-Surinamese. 

Nevertheless, for a short time (2013–2015), Puljhun boldly abandoned his heavier subjects in favor of a colorful evocation of his Hindustani heritage. His celebration of his Indian culture took the form of a series of watercolors depicting traditional Indian dances such as the classical Kathak dance. Following his work on this series, Puljhun returned to his darker subject matter. 

Puljhun has exhibited in Suriname at the Readytex Art Gallery and at the Paramaribo Span (2010). In 2014, he was selected as artist-in-residence at the Glo’Art institute in Lanaken, Belgium. He has served as head of the Nola Hatterman Art Academy since 2016. 

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