Band,Baaja and Some Empty Chairs

For years,band,baaja and baraat have been an integral part of artist Vasudha Thozhur’s life.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: April 10, 2012 2:59 am

For years,band,baaja and baraat have been an integral part of artist Vasudha Thozhur’s life. Because her home in Baroda is situated right next to a “party plot” where weddings,functions and other celebrations take place on a regular basis. This is the theme of “The Anatomy of Celebration or The Party Plot”,an exhibition of recent works by the artist,which is being held in the Capital.

“It has been very difficult living there,especially during the wedding season,and there are 10 or more such party plots in the vicinity. They represent a lucrative enterprise: agricultural land grapples with the encroachment of urban development to produce temporary financial benefit,before being absorbed into the frenzy of residential construction sites,” says Thozhur.

It was when looking at a wedding ceremony from the terrace of her house in 2008 that Thozhur decided to video-shoot the process. “The temporary ‘sets’ that are erected become more elaborate and spectacular as the years pass by,and create yet another architectural genre,” she adds.

Through 37 photographs and four videos,she has tried to capture the frenzy that surrounds such celebrations. The “lens-based works” — as she calls them — are grabs from the videos shot by her using a hand-held camera,while some have been shot independently. Besides a wedding canopy and fireworks,there seems to be a distinct focus on empty plastic chairs in many of her works. “The empty white chairs show passive viewing by all of us. So many times,we just accept things as they are,without doing anything about it,” explains Thozhur.

All this against the background of an otherwise troubled political climate,and the stringent moral policing that has become a part of the night life of Baroda and Ahmedabad. Thozhur has turned it into a visual experience with a darker edge. “The digital media is a part of our lives,and is incidental,as opposed to making an artistic choice. The content I shot seemed weird and haphazard in sequence,with no obvious narrative. But from this set of dysfunctional relationships,emerged a panoramic artwork that performed a very significant function in mediating these events,” concludes Thozhur.

“The Anatomy of Celebration or The Party Plot” is being held at Latitude 28,Lado Sarai,till May 10. Contact: 46791111

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