SARAH AHMAD | 23 DECEMBER, 2019
The Art of Solidarity
Against any form of injustice and oppression
Dear human, what have we done, now monsters lurk among us, they have divided us, shaken us to the core, they have built walls of hate, and pain and death, demolishing signs of boundless speech and memories of a better day. Their deeds were unsolicited, their crimes broke us into a thousand pieces; now we pick those pieces up, yet they slip through our bruised hands, into streets of chaos, lost in the stench of urban wilderness. We have not stopped fighting, we have not stopped hoping, carrying with us masses of gullible love, creating spots of friendship, marching with balms of unity.
Art has helped us to portray culture, craft, time and nature into visual pieces that could be viewed by different people at different periods of time, creating a time capsule of what once was. Contemporary Indian Artist – Abir Karmakar through his solo show – ‘Here Everything is Fine’ at Galleryske in New Delhi documents lives of people through the spaces they inhabit, creating visual pieces of lifestyle and culture through the things that people live in, with and around.
Karmakar brings together the idea of a collective, the community and culture as being the primary points of his practice, the physical body making its presence only through marks. For his wall and door projects the artist visits several homes, entering strangers’ homes, doing field work before creating documented visual pieces of the same. The viewer of the piece becomes a part of the artwork, peeping into lives of others. Abir Karmakar’s works have an interdisciplinary quality through the bringing together of painted and sculpted spaces, giving his art an interesting visual quality through the tilted surfaces he creates, which typically defines the beauty in the casual way we keep things in the dwellings we live.
(Abir Karmakar, Installation view- 'Here everything is fine-I')
We have lived together, created memories that prove our unhindered habitation in our motherland. We have tirelessly built a world within windows of freedom, soon to be taken away by an uninvited call of tyranny. In times like these – poetry, stories, powerful voices of hope and empowerment come to the rescue. Voices are heard on the streets as strong barricades to injustice and totalitarianism or are found in subtle yet stirring conversations and thoughts of the young; the voice giving hope, the voice standing tall.
On one December afternoon in the capital city of Delhi, children supported my Slam Out Loud (a not-for profit) came together at the American Center in New Delhi to perform, narrate and create moments of drama, art and joy. They proclaimed their battle calls against any form of injustice and oppression, creating breathing spaces for free thought and art.
What is to be noted is that these children became beacons of hope, telling tales that could empower, move and inspire anyone who was witness to their art. The BOL event is an end of year Jijivisha Art Mela where children from Slam Out Loud’s Jijivisha communities come together to perform for the first time as young artists. The American Center came to life on a cold winter afternoon, with spots of warmth and love through stories, poems and buoyant and powerful voices of the future. Along with special performances by children and the Jijivisha fellows, there was also a specially curated photo-walk featuring photographs and art works created by the children.
(BOL - an art mela by ‘Slam Out Loud’)
We are like magic, soldiering our way through times and tyrants, our united voices reverberating through cities and galaxies, a wand of hope for the unheard, we are a safe flight, a warm hug on a cold winter day, we are crusaders of happiness, exterminators of absolutism.
Abir Karmakar’s solo show - Here everything is fine, at GALLERYSKE, A-4 Green Avenue Street, Church Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, on view until 11 January, 2020