(Written by Varsha Jayaprasad)
On half a dozen old-style boxy television sets, you could watch an animation film about a group of animals from a grassland, who are fighting to save their habitat from a construction company. The work Shero to the Rescue, was designed by Anusha Menon, an illustrator, and animator from Pune, who draws inspiration from nature in urban spaces and is interested in communication design for sustainability.
In another room was a collection of small postcards with messages such as “Be softer, be kinder, be giving, be sensitive” and “Be vulnerable, be brave”. The work titled Advice to Myself and other Men presents postcards addressed by the artist Nandan Joshi, from Mumbai, to himself and other men. Tanya Maheshwari, a visual artist based in Delhi, gave a close view of her femininity and gendered identity in the work, Neither in Nor Out. Using photos, visuals and text, in one work, a photograph of her mother to show how gender is inherited.
These works were a part of a residency for artists called “Illustrators Offline”, organised by TIFA Working Studios in Pune. “The internet has been a helpful platform for aspiring artists. Social media platforms are giving a stage for artists to display their art. But, creating art online inhibits artists from interacting with one another. Illustrators Offline enables artists to gather inspiration without going online,” says Aishwarya Khoche, an illustrator who lives in Pune and Indore. Her own installation, titled Reflection, uses a mirror, illustrating words such as “reflect” written in reverse, and questions: ‘Why am I afraid to approach myself?’ “My work is a visual representation of an artist’s mind when in doubt,” she says.
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Subir Dey, a faculty member at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, has captured the “souls of the streets and understanding the true meaning of the city”. His works are abstract representations of construction sites, people caught in their pedestrian activities and vehicles that are leitmotifs of urban life.
His fellow illustrator, Debangshu Moulik, likes to make stories, drawings, paintings, street art, murals, animations, screen-prints, etchings, books, zines and installations. His bedroom in Pune is replete with his paintings and he recreated it in his room at TIFA, calling it Bedroom Blues. It comprises canvases with painted faces and forms of men and women surrounded by letters of Hindi, English and Bengali alphabets.
Chaitanya Modak used to be an autorickshaw driver (people called him Bhopu), before he turned into a creator of zines and renamed himself The Wolf. His installation, which included a bathtub with projections, was called Sleepsutra depicts different states of consciousness.
On the other hand, Aditi Mali, a comic artist, illustrator and animator from Pune, created installations inspired by her cat Maau, which featured in photographs, projections and small models. Mali is deeply attached to her feline and wishes to explore and document its every emotion.
Annada Menon, an illustrator based in Pune, created her work inspired off her trip to Seoul. She had travelled to various cultural spots in the city, such as Gyeongbokgung and Changgyeongung. “I tried to encompass the Korean culture in my art by creating illustration on tissue paper, which resembles their rice paper,” she says.
Aditi Damle, also known as Damlebai, is a multimedia artist from Pune. She created an abstract piece called Consumption. It explored the meanings of consumption, including the exploitation of the earth. The work that comprised illustrations and drawings, was done on shirts.