The fibreglass tiger at the entrance is symbolic. With India taking the expressway to economic growth, the ongoing show Yeh Image Mahaan, India Meets Bharat at Lalit Kala Akademi, tries to capture the cascading effect on the nation’s politics, society and culture.
According to Rakhi Sarkar, curator and director, Centre of International and Modern Art, the idea was to put together works where old India impacts new India and vice-versa.
“Beyond avant garde art in the metros, a strong artistic language has emerged that bridges the urban concrete with the rural gravel, uniting Bharat and India.” Consider Meera Devidayal’s Thane, which shows an old compact disc hanging from the roof of a corrugated tin roof with a television playing in a Dharavi shanty. The digital print on a recycled galvanised metal sheet emerged from the artist’s experience of working in Asia’s biggest slum. Sumitro Basak’s kitschy Amar Sonar Bangla has the word ‘Fux’ emblazoned throughout.
“It is a comment on a campaign launched by the makers of Lux innerwear, allegedly implicated in the Rizwanur murder case,” says Sarkar.
Shakila, a vendor’s wife, might have made the evolution from street urchin to sophisticated artist, but her depiction of the victims of the Singur massacre, caught between opposing forces of violence, retains Kolkata’s street cred.
Ashish Ghosh’s sculpture of a wooden tiger on stilts is a symbol of the crossroads on which the magnificent beast and our civilisation are at. Also showing: works by Bhupen Khakhar and Chintan Upadhyay. Images mahaan? You make your mind.