Monday, June 17, 2013


Raised in Delhi and relocating to claustrophobic Mumbai city opened doors to new culture that led to documentation of day-to-day life in sketchbooks. This extended to spontaneous artistic expression in the form of paintings, sculptures and video art. These events that affected my life- consciously or subconsciously are expressed through art works All Purpose Room, Metamorphosis, Daydreamers, Under Extinction, His ‘n’ His and Hers ‘n’ Hers.

The life-support of Metropolitan cities like Mumbai is its local government transport. Daydreamers depict a cumbersome journey within crowded buses and trains. Amidst this hectic journey from place to place, my observation of women gave me the impression that each entity created their own space by blocking their surroundings, with the shield of Daydreaming. A process where they were teleporting for the day to reach their destined dreams rather than the destination. Another painting Ladies Special talks about a Ladies Special local train in Mumbai has all its coaches reserved for women passengers. The painting depicts the space I shared with my co-passengers while traveling in this train.

All Purpose Room is about an urban amalgam of residing in the city of Mumbai opens doors to the word Chawl. These living spaces are like human beehives that initially played a role in jumpstarting the economy of the city in the past.  A single “all purpose room” which transforms from living, sleeping, studying, dining and cooking not only creates flexibility in living conditions but also acts as dynamics of energy and joy amongst the dwellers.  On the other hand, the growing family size causes cramped living conditions. This push and pull rhythmic life of sharing and caring within a confined space has added the blessing of  ‘hope’ as the country is becoming economically stronger.  

The city in the process of catching up with growth has been expanding and redeveloping and Chawls are being replaced with new urban structures. The large families that once stayed in a single room are now benefited with bigger apartment spaces. Once living cozy in a community has been replaced with living in cozy apartments. To gain something, one has to loose something.  Many Chawl dwellers are waiting “hopefully” to be next in the line, while gradually the Chawl culture is vanishing.

The painting captures morning scenario of yet another new day of hope irrespective of the monotonous and mundane activities of getting ready to go to work places, schools, cooking and cleansing. The bright colors represent a friendly atmosphere -while catching up with time, irrespective of the bottleneck of sharing common bathrooms and latrines.

This painting Metamorphosis is based on a series of drawings I did while sitting in a women beauty salon in Mumbai and captured three female characters of different age groups, who had come for a new make over and a new beginning. One of them, a close friend was about to get married within few days.

The set of paintings- His ‘n’ His and Hers ‘n’ Hers, focus on co-existing contrast in India’s urban environment. Even if today's Indian women/men are sharing the same surroundings, to some extent their outlook depicts their exposure and embedded traditions. This brings about the mix and match of the way they appear. On the other hand Under Extinction shows petty shops and their owners with distinctive characters. These small shops are under the verge of extinction because of the mushrooming of shopping malls that are monopolizing the purchasing patterns in cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

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