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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Everything’s public

Aakriti Sawhney , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 15, 2013
First Published: 18:08 IST(15/2/2013) | Last Updated: 14:43 IST(18/2/2013)

With a strong belief that there is no culture of viewing art in our country, Delhi-based art enthusiast Surbhi Modi planned a public art festival with a motive to display art at various prominent locations in the city. “How many people visit galleries in Delhi?,” asks Modi. “Isn’t it the same set of people that revolve around at all art gatherings, openings and exhibitions? We need to get art to public platforms so that there is more audience to it,” adds the 30-year-old.

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Titled Publica, the festival is spread over 15 sites in Delhi such as India Habitat Centre, Dilli Haat, Select CityWalk mall and more. It has works of artists from both India and abroad. Briefing us on the festival, Modi, says, “Once we decided on the artists, we started contacting the venues. While some were very forthcoming, others juggled with the issues of sensitivity and sensibilities. But that’s the fun of it.” Commenting on the artworks, Modi says, “The works created are environmentally focused, socially interactive and community driven.” We visited a few locations and interacted with the artists and people around. Here’s what we gathered.

Genesis
This installation at India Habitat Center by artists S Thiru and Vikrant Sharma is part of their Deconstruction Series. The artists have deconstructed various photos to present them in a manner never done before. “Before we decided to deconstruct the photographs, we wanted to explore and look into what makes these images — the camera and started deconstructing that,” says Thiru. “The camera has so many layers and once deconstructed, we realise how every part is so pivotal,” adds Sharma. Another interesting work from their series is a sequence of landscape pictures taken in Ladakh. The pictures are deconstructed into layers and printed over clear acrylic sheets to create a 3D effect.

Aasan
Artist Mangesh Rajguru took 15 days to complete this artwork. Of these 15 days, he didn’t sleep for three days. The work is currently staged at designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s store in Mehrauli. The artwork is very interesting as it is made out of combining two scooter bodies making an aasan, which denotes a position of power, authority and politics for the artist. “I have always been fascinated by scooters,” confesses Rajguru. With silencers as the back rest and human arms made in steel as the supporters of the Aasan, the artist is depicting the side-effects of technological development in today’s age and time. He has put oxygen masks on the sides. “Human beings might need it in some years, seeing the pollution increasing in our environment,” says the artist.

We need to get art to public platforms so that there is more audience to it Surbhi Modi, organiser

Peaceful be your return...
Israeli artist Achia Anzi has been living in India for almost a decade now. It is the country’s culture and vibrancy that attracted the artist to make this country his second home. His art installation at Dilli Haat is titled after a poem by famous Israeli national poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. His artwork shows two birds lying on the ground, distorted and helpless. “Birds are the messengers of peace and here they are telling the story of homecoming,” says Anzi, adding, “Art is created when you are unable to express something in words and in a way it is my personal story too.” Talking more about the work and the material used Anzi says, “It’s a tedious job and involves a lot of planning, creating, destroying, recreating and more. The material used is tin sheets that have been worked upon by denting, painting, burning and using acids.”


Other works on display

London to India by The Lake Twins
The Lake Twins are identical mirror twins who work together collaboratively on their art. For their work, stationed at IHC, the artists have associated with the western interpretations of Yoga, which has its origins in ancient India. A foreigner is the subject and performs nine yoga positions, which the twins have captured in their drawings with extreme precision.

Crash 2000 by Sheeba Dhanjal
In this artwork, the artist has put together a 36-portrait installation of people from across the world, from different professions and social strata — all of whom died in a car accident in the year 2000. Through this work, the artist is drawing a conclusion that death is the great equaliser.


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