Born in drought-prone Yavatmal district in Maharashtra, where his parents, friends and relatives struggle to manage the acute shortage of water, young artist Amol Tote, 30, decided to create artwork that would comment on the grave situation in his hometown and the political apathy that causes it to persist.
In an exhibition titled Sociographs, Tote highlights the worsening drought situation and deteriorating lifestyles of those living in drought-prone rural Maharashtra.
“At least twice a week, my parents have to order a tanker to replenish their stock of water,” Tote says. “Only a few borewells still have water in them, and that too only below 300 feet.”
The situation in the region is much worse for those who cannot afford to order a tanker. “These people have to queue up for hours in the hope of filling a bucket or two on the few days when the government-supplied tankers roll past. Life is tough there,” Tote says.
In the 11 pieces of artwork on display during the weeklong exhibition that ends on Monday, Tote uses the images of a crushed rupee, a human trapped in a cobweb and a rural grain grinder to depict the severe hardships that the common man must face in rural Maharashtra.
“This is an exhibition that is bound to make the viewer sit up and think,” says art critic Shriram Khadilkar. “Tote’s art transcends mere aesthetics to address and deliver true essence — the responsibility of any genuine artist.”