Gurgaon-based artist Arun Kumar HG visited nearly 40 homes before he created the installation Breathing Space, an eight-foot-long, square, four-walled enclosure housed at Art Positive Gallery in Lado Sarai. In an attempt to replicate the interiors of the small houses that migrant workers live in, he has pasted photo prints on the fibreboard walls.
Each photo reveals a story of a migrant worker — a kitchen stacked with utensils or a wall hanging showing the Taj Mahal. One wall sports a peephole, through which visitors can listen to recordings of a migrant worker Sunil Patel. The sounds that echo inside the house reveal Patel’s story — he works in Gurgaon, having migrated from his village to the city in the hope of more income.
Kumar is one of the 11 artists participating in the exhibition “Homing”, which has 16 works in different mediums on display. Curator Deeksha Nath says, “Homing refers to the ability of animals to find their way back home using topographical observations, memory, scent or sound. It is not about a building or a room but has a lot more to it.”
Conceptual artist Suchitra Gahlot from Gurgaon has recreated the scents she associates with the houses she has lived in the past. Coming from an army background, her growing up years involved a lot of shifting and travelling to new places and houses. The numbers 28, 53 and 10 placed next to the perfume bottles she has created by working with a perfumer, give clue to the house numbers she once lived in. Contained in one bottle is the smell of tadka while, in another, the smell of Hamam soap.
Tushar Joag’s artwork titled Unhome could qualify as the noisiest one in the gallery. A handmixer is left on while a fan, placed on the ground, blows sheets of newspapers here and there — thus creating the impression of a ransacked or a looted house. “These items are common in most households. It shows how a home almost turns violent with the onset of these growling sounds,” says the artist.
While Vibha Galhotra has represented home as a hammock with a map of the world, Mithu Sen’s Nobody is at Home features a door handle attached to a wall, and Sumedh Rajendran’s work comprises models of a house, a car and a temple — all made of cement — India’s most common building material.
The exhibition is on at Art Positive till March 18. Contact: 26476638