Artist locks up self to seek repeal of sedition law | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Artist locks up self to seek repeal of sedition law

Artist Tushar Joag crawled into a 5x3-feet cell at Colaba’s Clark House on Tuesday evening, ‘locked’ himself in by weaving a mesh of thread across the opening, and plans to emerge from this self-imposed prison only six days later, on May 30.

mumbai Updated: May 25, 2011 02:19 IST
Aarefa Johari

Artist Tushar Joag crawled into a 5x3-feet cell at Colaba’s Clark House on Tuesday evening, ‘locked’ himself in by weaving a mesh of thread across the opening, and plans to emerge from this self-imposed prison only six days later, on May 30.

Inside, the 45-year-old will spend his waking hours filling up a pile of school notebooks with the words “I will not lose faith in the Indian Judiciary and Democracy”.

Joag’s act of performative art is part of a larger art project, Right to Dissent, that seeks to question unconstitutional forms of state repression through an art exhibition, film screenings, Joag’s performance and a panel discussion with speakers such as Dr Binayak Sen and former high court judge PB Sawant.

The week-long project, launched on Tuesday, is convened by Joag in collaboration with the Committee for the Release of Binayak Sen, the Mohile Parikh Centre and Clark House, a new city-based curatorial initiative and also the name of the venue for the art exhibition.

“My act is a poetic take on the practice of arresting and punishing people for sedition, and it is a statement to insist that the law against sedition must be repealed,” said Joag, whose only comforts inside the cell are a small bathroom, table, chair and food coming in through a slit.

All the notebooks that Joag fills up will be sent to law minister Veerappa Moily, who, after the release of activist Binayak Sen, had stated that he would consider the repealing of the sedition law. “My project is a way of reminding people that they must continue the protests and debates and keep building pressure on the government,” said Joag.

The art exhibition includes paintings and multi-media installations by artists Atul Dodiya, Bose Krishnamachari and Shilpa Gupta, as well as organisations Majlis and Desire Machine Collective. This is the first exhibition open to the public at Clark House.