Breaking the silence

The dignified silence that prevented them from making art as immediate responses to the terror attacks has finally broken.

Written by Georgina Maddox | Published:January 19, 2009 2:40 am

Artists finally talk of the terror attacks

The dignified silence that prevented them from making art as immediate responses to the terror attacks has finally broken. Artists have unleashed their angst on canvas and paper.

Some artists like Ananya Bannerjee have chosen a direct approach while others a more oblique contemplation of terror.

“I had been working with large format photographs mounted on canvas,earlier with artist Safdar Shamee,the muse then were the havelis of Rajasthan. Now I have collaborated with painter Ananya

Bannerjee to make a tribute to the Taj,” says photographer Pradeep Chandra.

Enlarging images on archival paper of the edifice that has been dubbed the symbol of Mumbai’s prosperity and hospitality,Chandra mounted the same on canvas and Banerjee painted with acrylics to make the sky golden and bright in the coloured work and,to add a shade of grey in the black-and-white image. “This magnificent architectural marvel has been standing for over 100 years. It represents Bombay. It is not merely a hotel; it is one of its kind,” says Banerjee who painted the Taj torn apart,grey and dismal.

Another exhibition titled Hot Shots is a show by a group of contemporary artists who are articulate and intelligent. They are enthused by global spirit while retaining a strong sense of a personal physical and emotional space. Some of the well-known artists showcasing their works are Chintan Upadhyay and Riyas Komu,Arunanshu Chowdhary,Binoy Verghese,George Martin and Heeral Trivedi. These artists focus on issues like historical icons,the recent terror attacks in the city and various contemporary concerns of a growing India.

Upadhyay has created a diptych of Gandhi and Osama Bin Laden. “This work is important because it is not just about these people unlike before. Here I want to say that the solution to terrorism is not to kill the enemy but to practice non-violence as Gandhi taught us is the solution. It is something that we can achieve collectively,” he says.

Komu’s work Between Carpet and Sky is more than a response to the recent terror attacks on Mumbai. It questions our apathy,our insecurities—both internal and external and how vulnerable we are.

Countless images of the Taj and the terror attacks will parade forth reminding us of 26/11,but the underlying message of these works is always for peace.

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