Angst of farmers finds a voice in the works of this almost-Zamindar

  • IANS, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2015 16:31 IST

Rare is a display of the harsh realities of a farmer's life and his diminishing importance in contemporary society through a series of images, installations and text.

Akshay Rathore, a Paris-based visual artist, was born in a zamindar (landowner) family of Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, but instead of following the family hierarchy, he chose artistic expression to turn his gaze inward and look into a direction ignored by many.

His first solo show in India, titled Impotent Rage, is a culmination of this observation and is on display at Gallery Espace till April 20.

"I grew up in an atmosphere dominated by upper caste politics and witnessed the deterioration of rural social structure, primarily a result of the failure in implementing land reforms post liberalisation," said Rathore.

"This exhibition delves into the hidden angst in rural India, which is invisible, even impotent. It's about commercialisation and its impact," he added.

Developed Undeveloped, watercolour and ink on paper, archival prints.

Initiating some thought-provoking debates on this topic is Obituary, a portrait of a Kachhi farmer - Tikaram, 70 - who is standing alone, staring at a wall of seeds from his farm.

"Tikaram belongs to a caste of farmers who had mastered the best technique of utilising land fertility. He does all his farming alone and maintains an ethos of bio-diversity and organic produce on his farm," said Rathore.

The artist said that the work is a tribute to death of this sort of wise farming.

There is Bull and Bullocks that compares the two animals. There are also text and photographs about the process of castration that renders a bull "functional" for human purposes.

"The imposing bull here is a symbol of emasculation, castration, power and masculinity, while the bullock is a docile beast of burden whose testicles have been scientifically crushed as a young calf to pursue its domestication," he said.

Catch it live
What: Impotent Rage
Where: Gallery Espace, 16, Community Center, New Friends Colony
On till: April 20
Timings: 11am to 7pm
Nearest metro station: Kalkaji Mandir on Violet Line

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