Sanjiban Sellew

New Marlborough, MA

Each one of us has some practice we engage in to keep in touch with our life of aspiration. Independent filmmaking is mine. For thirty years it has assisted me as a methodology for investigative personal discovery. My particular dilemmas and troubles in life become my story-line. My film art is a wound turned to light. My stories and thematic displays portray my disposition in a variety of psychological predicaments we all face in life. To call myself a display artist might forgive my falling short of being a good actor. I perform spontaneously and struggle with memorized lines.

My quirky stories have a tendency to predict what is going to happen next in my outer life. These predictions frightened me in my thirties but I learned not to be afraid of my insights but use them as guides to navigate my fate and destiny. Some of my short films have been invocations of secret prayers or desires I have denied myself. Films like these turn out very peculiar and oddly attractive somehow, namely, Prayer Box and A Chicken Will Die.

Over the last decade I have been exploring video themes relating to the phenomenology of being and the inevitable entrapments and defeats we encounter that will eventually soften, if not transcend, our fixated, constant thought of “me” which is our biggest problem. For instance, in The Fight That Never Ends, I am a mythic, undefeated hero, who has a physical boxing match against God. You will have to see the film to see who wins, or better yet, who loses.

Years ago I produced a one minute film documenting a ‘hate march’ I created called Me Against You. Another video, Self Arrest, is a dramatic four minute cinematic portrait of self sabotage. I arrest and torture myself in this film without anyone else present. Don’t we all? Drumming Men is my latest movie which is a documentary of a mens outdoor drum circle I organized twenty years ago. Our gatherings were potent and primordial in essence. This movie explores and exposes the vortex between exhalation and fractious feral energy we all experienced. We invoked exaggerated experience and in doing so we became emotionally visible and vulnerable. The group could not survive its own inner fire. We would learn later that ‘freedom was forgiveness’.

Filmmaking is storytelling and storytelling creates community. I meet the people I’m supposed to meet through my storytelling which led me to this online community. I am grateful for this opportunity to share with others who I would otherwise never rub elbows with.



Sanjiban was diagnosed with GBM brain cancer on December 2, 2011. He passed from the living on Febuary 28, 2012. Sanjiban was and remains a great inspiration for Glasschord Magazine. We were honored to have his work exhibited in our project and his correspondences left one uplifted and inspired. We will miss you, Sanjiban. Thank you for your lessons.

Click to view work contributed to Glasschord Magazine by this artist