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SARAH AHMAD | 21 MAY, 2015

Art Among The Urban Wild

May 2015


There is this vast space that needs to be filled with little black letters, and everything I write will change the way you think for that very moment of reading. So I choose my words wisely, rather not, I write about things I ought to, like the other day, about art and amity; my words squeak their way through on this screen, like shiny new shoes.

A dramatic portrayal of life continues in that corner, a painting gets hung in that, while a few months into the year and May has suddenly shown its rather warm, burning sun; people with odd beards and loose hopes, pinstripe shirts and glasses, escapists and pretenders, fittingly vanished into a past of cold callousness.

Hence a note of joy, of hope and art, of humanists and realists displaces the feeble one. We ride on roads of change, of magnanimity and compassion- virtues lost from beings of the urban wild. The India International Centre brings forth The Justice Project, which aims to create a dialogue among five project countries through films and build upon the practices of justice as they are moulded in different areas and sites in South Asia. It brings together a dozen researchers and filmmakers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who have worked over a span of few years on the subject of justice and conflict.

Art District XIII gallery in Saket brings together works by Artist, Balaji Ponna. Through his collection of paintings- titled ‘The Mirror has no heart,’ Ponna aims to depict a citizen’s relationship with the nation-state. His works, through images and texts addresses several socio-political issues, the question of a dislocated political system in contemporary India and the directions it poses to take under the current power.

Human beings are being tested to extreme climate changes, changing political systems and the threat of no change at all. Yet among the things that unsettle us and create strings of unending pain, our thoughts are being brought alive through artistic signs, subtle show of one person’s life on a canvas or a quirky display of emotions through comedic rants. ‘Me tragedy, you comedy,’ a stand-up performed by Abijit Ganguly, focuses on how someone’s pain (or tragedy) could be someone’ else’s comedy, and traces the aspects that makes one a comedian.

Art is constantly being influenced by various factors in the real world, but often being looked at independently from these socio-political factors. An art appreciation workshop at the India Habitat Centre introduces one to the various periods in Indian art, imbibing a critical eye for contemporary Indian art among participants, and the space that art has occupied through decades of changing political voices. This workshop by independent curator and museologist, Priya Pall, traces the journey of art through dialogues and interactive sessions with invited artists, culminating in a curated museum walk.

We are living in turbulent times, stagnant times, within boxes of constructed concrete, mortar and crevices. People are going on their daily voyages, from the grail to the grind, words are being splattered in senseless talks, yet somewhere there is a world of art and harmony, some people have left behind their poetry, some their lives, some have only been forgotten and a few dreams realised, while in this city of tribes and scribes, the urban wild grunts and roars, behind, below, saffron doors.

  • The Justice Project: C.D. Deshmukh Auditorium, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi from 25th May 2015 at 1830hrs

 

  • The Mirror Has No Heart, a painting exhibition of paintings by Balaji Ponna: Art District XIII Gallery, F-213-C, Ground Floor, Lado Sarai, Saket, Delhi, on till 2nd June 2015

 

  • Stand-up Comedy, ‘Me Comedy You Tragedy’ by Abijit Ganguly: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi, 23rd May, 1900 hrs.

 

  • Art Appreciation Workshop, an Overview of Modern & Contemporary Indian Art, from 1900 to present day: Casuarina, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi, from the 25th of May till 5th of June 2015.

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