A wisp of song can set you free. A roughly drawn map can hold the idea of a nation. On the eve of India’s 68th Independence, Day, artists across genres share their thoughts on freedom.
Jagannath Panda, Springs of Sublime, 2013, mixed media
It is a subtle idea of transformation of culture and human aspersion. The works build with several layers of metaphors and narratives. It awakes a residue of an imagining the tranquil view of nature/ culture and history/ economy of Mumbai/ India. Exhibited at the Mumbai airport, it denotes the flight people are taking to different destinations and is a metaphor for breaking away.
Reena Kallat, Saline Notations, 2014, digital prints on Hahnemuhle Photorag archival paper
As the texts in salt get washed over and disappear, leaving residual marks and impressions, we might think of these afterlives and effects of experiences. Freedom to me not only means independence of thought and expression but to have the possibility to exercise choice; to celebrate difference by freeing ourselves of mental barriers or biases and recognising our interdependence.
Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, Dominus aeries, 2014, oil on canvas
Freedom means to think as large as possible. One can do that if one is free from all pressures, of family, friends and work. In India, architecture grows with family, one builds floors for children, unlike in the West. The canvas is about dreams. Freedom is a state of mind. We are lucky that we are living our dream
Shilpa Gupta, 100 hand-drawn maps of my Country, 2008-ongoing, carbon tracings on paper
I asked 100 ordinary people to draw the map-logo of India by memory. The hundred maps did not match. The work is about the different ways the idea of a nation is imagined by those who live there. The project sought to rethink relations of power inherent in cartography; to take it away from institutional forces and use it for reconsidering existing boundaries.
As told to Vandana Kalra