What's the agenda?
An exhibition of graphic art says, go question everything from politics to pop culture
In July this year, rain wrecked havoc on the Vasai-Virar belt, water-logging low-lying areas and affecting electric supply. In the middle of the mayhem, 26-year-old illustrator Tanya Eden found herself hooked on to Netflix, losing track of time and the missed calls on her phone.
Way 2 Many by Jas Charanjiva
"I had been watching a show all night and didn't realise it was seven in the morning. My mom came home, drenched in water, and yelled at how I seemed to be apathetic towards the bad condition outside," she says, recollecting the incident. What surprised Eden wasn't the fact that she was fixated on the screen, but because in the process, she wasn't even concerned about her family members.
Downfall by Sahil Shah
Having collaborated previously with the artist collective Kultureshop, Eden had received an email from them a couple of days earlier announcing a call for entries for their latest collection themed around propaganda. She was excited at first, since it fit well with her artistic style — bold and unusual. But after the flooding episode, Eden decided to weave in a larger message.
Whistleblower's Manual by Darpan Bajaj
"When you think of propaganda, the colours black, white and red come to mind. But I wanted to move beyond that spectrum and make it relatable. And what better than to illustrate something from my own life," she says. The artwork then acts like a mirror of Eden's reality. The piece titled I'd Rather Chill depicts a young woman with her body rooted to the bed; her eyes wide open and glued to the phone screen, ignorant of the deluge behind her. Her phone cover quite rightly says "chill". "I call this the binge-watching revolution. It's really hitting our generation," she believes.
Along with her, nine other artists have their works as part of the collection. Graphic designer and co-curator Mohini Mukherjee states that the theme goes beyond aesthetic value with artists looking at the world today and coming out with diverse interpretations. "We've held off on pushing our artists from being too political in the past, but increasingly we questioned our judgement.
Propaganda is our way of opening up a conversation that rarely happens amongst our audience and our artists," Mukherjee says. This, for the curators, is also a way to challenge creative minds in Mumbai. She adds, "The graphic art community here mainly comprises young and well-to-do professionals who are famously apolitical. There's often a huge gulf between them and the rest of the country. All of us must be more aware of the peculiar power structures in India and how our work interacts with them."
Raising more questions
Way 2 Many by Jas Charanjiva, co-founder of Kultureshop, is a take on India's population crisis, advocating the two-child policy.
Sahil Shah, a Mumbai-based designer depicts a storyline of an empire unveiling the bitter truth that revolutions are rarely peaceful.
Whistleblower's Manual by Darpan Bajaj, a Delhi-based visual artist showcases the cost of honesty in today's times.
TILL: September 15
AT: Kultureshop, Kala Ghoda.
LOG ON TO: kultureshop.in
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