Artist meets the activist

Watching activist Anna Hazare pass a resolution on the Lokpal Bill, artist Palash Halder was inspired to depict the power struggle in society

A familiar face that has hogged the spotlight in newspapers across the country stares at you from a canvas. It's the leader of the anti-corruption brigade -- Anna Hazare -- who shares the frame with a scarecrow grinning in quiet victory.

Artist Palash Halder has always been a keen follower of Gandhi but he now has a new muse. Titled Lokpal, the abstract Anna painting is interspersed with tools that drive a nation. Some are rather literal such as a spanner and bolts weaved into stark colours of an inverted national flag, while others play out through an analogy.

"The scarecrow represents laws created to keep injustice in check but the crows are perched comfortably on the scarecrow itself -- they represent the loopholes of the system and citizens, who abuse the law," says a passionate Halder, who spent 10 days working on the piece.

Other works at the exhibition include older paintings by the artist, who got interested in art while studying in Kolkata.  "History records the abuse of power through ancient civilisations and once again in modern society, history repeats itself," says Halder.

But a hint of optimism lines the subjects of political doom in every frame. A naked child with a deadpan expression, for example, next to a mournful Mother Theresa, holds an Indian flag in his young hands; Halder calls him his Golden Boy.

Till: September 19
At: DD Neroy Gallery, 534, Grant Road, Chowpatty.
Call: 23619124

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