What is the colour of violence? An art show is trying to find out
Transmedia artist Ali Akbar Mehta has been asking the ‘colour of anger’ online and many answers are surprising. Now, at Harkat Studios, many hues come together to tell the tale of force and fear.
What, according to you, is the colour of violence?
Transmedia artist Ali Akbar Mehta has been asking the question online, and some of the responses have been surprising.
“My wife and I had an argument once, and in a fit of rage, I threw a bar of chocolate I had in my hand. So whenever I see brown, I think anger,” said a respondent from Bangalore.
Ice white, said a young woman who had recently moved to Finland from relatively warmer climes. Having moved to a country where temperatures can drop to -35 degrees, she associates the colourlessness of extreme cold with violence, she added.
If ice white seems excessively specific, it’s because all respondents to Mehta’s poll were asked to pick their shade from among the 256 million in the Photoshop colour palette.
While many chose the more predictable blacks and reds, there were some for whom pink was the most violent hue; or blue, or yellow.
“Their choices clearly emerge out of very personal experiences, and this shows the extent to which the personal and the socio-cultural determine how we view violence,” says Mehta.
The survey — which culminates in an art exhibition this weekend — started as a response to the events unfolding after the Malegaon blasts of 2006.
“The then home minster termed it saffron terror, followed by another party member’s association of terrorism with the colour black,” says Mehta. “I had to disagree with those sweeping statements. They felt too generic. And that got me thinking about individuals and the colours they associate with violence.”
Over five months, people from 10 countries around the world, including Iran, Finland and Japan, responded to Mehta’s online poll.
The question about colour is only the last of 50 on the survey. Others relate to family and criminal background, education, immigration status. Each taker must fill out the whole form, and explain their choice.
“I want to eventually analyse the findings and see if and how they reflect upbringing and cultural influences,” says Mehta.
Survey results are being represented as colour cards, and have been installed at Harkat Studios in Versova, where you can also take the survey yourself.
FRESH TAKES ON EVERY SHADE
White: A respondent from South Africa said white is the colour of violence for him. “It represents the privileges the Whites have, the differences it creates within groups,” he wrote.
Blue: A man from Iran said blue reminds him of the burqas most Iranian women wear. “Not all women may subscribe to the idea of covering themselves; for many it’s a form of oppression, hence violent,” he adds.
Pink: A few respondents associated this colour with fights that evolve from struggles for equality.
Yellow: One respondent associated this colour with the breaking of an egg, an act that feels violent to him.
Ice white: A young woman who recently shifted from Finland to relatively warmer climes said that coming from a country where temperatures drop as low as -35 degrees, the colourlessness of cold has come to signify violence to her.
Brown: “My wife and I had an argument and in a fit of rage, I threw the bar of chocolate I had in my hand. Ever since, whenever I see brown, I think anger,” wrote a respondent from Bangalore.
What: Limitations of Liability – 256 Million Colours of Violence, an exhibition
When: March 25, 6 pm to 9 pm; March 26 to 28, 10 am to 9 pm
Where: Harkat Studio, Bungalow No 75, JP Road, Versova
Entry is free
Choose your colour: You can also take the survey here