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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Shades of Resistance

A multimedia exhibition unveils activism and its many interpretations.

Updated: February 26, 2014 5:21:11 pm


Gauri Gill’s photo of Manipuri civil rights activist Irom Sharmila. Gauri Gill’s photo of Manipuri civil rights activist Irom Sharmila.

At the Lalit Kala Akademi foyer, a bright meandering wall of blue, green and other colours stands to the corner left. As one comes closer, it reveals a stack of bottle caps that comprises the six-foot high installation. Delhi-based artist Arunkumar HG’s work, Droppings and the Dam(n), which resembles a hilly landscape, is meant to tell of the prevailing “imbalance in keeping our ecology sustainable”. Part of the group exhibition “Forms of Activism”, to mark 25 years of SAHMAT, Arunkumar took over three years to make this artwork from discarded plastic caps, which he collected from neighbourhood ragpickers. 

Over 36 artists including Arpana Caur, Riyas Komu, Gauri Gill, Ram Rahman, Sheba Chhachhi, and Jitish Kalat have come together to showcase installations, sculptures, photographs, video installations, paintings and prints. “In the last decade, different styles of art have proliferated and there is a larger reference to indirect and abstract art, even activism has been reflected through various forms such as ecology, rural-urban migration, loss, and protest work,” says Vivan Sundaram, curator for this exhibition, who also curated SAHMAT’s 2002 exhibition, “Ways of Resisting”.

There is Tushar Joag’s Repeal, Resuscitate–Waiting for the Wind, a reaction to the stringent Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958. A pile of gunny bags is stacked up and a copy of the Supreme Court’s report on six killings that took place in the Northeast is placed on top to symbolise the judicial intervention in the issue. A fan placed beside it acts as a metaphor for breathing life into the report. Ram Rahman’s photo essay on the Gujarat riots-affected is a set of portraits of survivors from Gujarat, juxtaposed with visuals from broken and abandoned houses. “One gets a sense of violence, destruction and political turmoil in most of the works,” says Sundaram.

There is Baroda-based artist Vasudha Thozhur’s A Portrait (2008-2013), a five-year project to document the impact of the Gujarat riots on women. She weaves the emotions of a female victim through a mix of silk screen printing, painting and embroidery. While most of the works were commissioned for this exhibition, there are some older works such as Prashant Panjiar’s 2010 photo essay, Drylands, which shows farmer suicides in Vidarbha, Maharashtra since 2001.

The works are on display at Lalit Kala Akademi Galleries, Rabindra Bhavan, between 11 am and 7 pm, till March 7

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