Fictional superhero Superman is now promoting the message of safe sex through an art exhibition here aimed at spreading AIDS awareness and sex education among youth in India.
A new exhibition featuring oils on canvas by artist duo Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra addresses the themes of safe sex practices and increased sexual activity among Indian youth against the backdrop of traditional perceptions of sexuality. "Superman is every girl's man. He wears latex and saves the world. He is a larger than life character and we have used him as a metaphor to promote safe sex," says Jiten Thukral.
The exhibition "Put it on, Again" continues from their solo exhibition "Put It On" held in 2007 in New York and is on display at the Nature Morte gallery in Delhi till February 26.
"We live in the age of Internet where we can see porn films but can not talk about sex to elders. We thought its time to analyse our behaviour towards sex through art," says Sumir Tagra, calling their effort a behavioural change exercise.
Different schools in Delhi have been invited to send children to the exhibition.
"There is no sex education for children in schools. Our work will be like an educational programme helping them in understanding about sex," says Thukral.
With their characteristic use of pop culture imagery, graphic pizzazz, colours, sardonic wit and insightful juxtapositions, the duo has tried to address deadly serious subjects in a humorous way.
They are using their medium of art to reach the places where conventional campaigns on HIV have failed to reach. Apart from exhibiting their work at the gallery, the artists have tried to take the safe sex message through slippers to grass root level called 'Pehno'.
"We have printed condoms on bathroom slippers. When people wear them everyday at home, they are constantly reminded of having safe sex," says Tagra.
"To spread message of safe sex more comprehensively, we need to use new mediums that move in private spaces of people and make an impact. Slippers are something that a common man wears everywhere," he adds.