Growing up in the culturally-vibrant Delhi of the ’70s, for me, art has been a way of life. Mandi House, back then, used to be alive with people breathing art and culture. There was the National School of Drama with its cream of theatre actors, Triveni Kala Sangam with dancers, musicians and artistes all practising and performing at various times of the day, and the Lalit Kala Akademi galleries brimming with exhibitions.
Slowly the skyline began changing and its transformations began to show up in my work too. My art is a commentary on the ever-expanding urbanism across the globe. It tells how we are constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing endlessly, sometimes purely imitating what is around, without questioning the need and purpose of this growth.
I often wonder, what if buildings could be used in multiple ways. What if mundane hospital and office walls could be filled with paintings? Whether sculptures aren’t permanent and could be changed every few months? What if our public gardens are turned into concert spaces at night? What if the huge terraces in offices and apartments could be used for movie screenings? We can use our buildings to the fullest instead of opening them only for a few hours in the day. This pandemic has made us realise that we don’t need much of the things that we have created or accumulated.
For all this to happen, people need to talk to one another. We have one earth, one life.
Pooja Iranna is a Delhi-based artist