When needs become art

The exhibition explores and represents the three basic requirements of life — Roti, Kapda and Makan

art and culture Updated: Apr 07, 2012 01:23 IST
Chetna Dua
Chetna Dua
Hindustan Times

The three basic needs of human beings, ‘Roti Kapda Makan’ find an artistic expression at an exhibition by the same name beginning next week. Representing 23 artists from across cities, the exhibition includes multiple mediums such as photography, video art, sculpture, paintings, installations and graphic art.

Mantrakodi by Jinson Joseph symbolises a wedding as the basis for food, clothes and shelter (HT Photo)

“The show depicts how Indians perceive the three basic needs,” says Anubhav Nath, curator and director, Ojas Art. The show will be held at their first permanent gallery in Mehrauli.

To be on display, while Rameshwar Broota’s photograph, Roti, shot at Tihar jail, captures the importance of the humble bread for the inmates, Arun Kumar portrays the quest of immigrant labourers for the basic needs. And, in the streets of Paharganj, Chandani Chowk and Sadar bazaar, photographer Vicky Roy captured the culture of giving excess rotis to street animals.

Size Zero

The works don’t just cover the street life, but also the glam world. The ‘size zero’ installation — customised dolls in feeding bottles — by Kavita Singh Kale represents voluntary starving by models who are in a frenzy to achieve the size zero status. “Even though they can afford food, they starve themselves to maintain their status,” says the artist.

Sweet Excess

Depicting the changing basic needs, American artist Zachary Becker captures the overindulgence in our lives through photographs of Indian sweets like Barfi and Gulab Jamun. “When I came to India, I was told that I’d be offered sweets whenever I visit someone, as part of the culture. The tradition of sharing sweets on every happy occasion reflects abundance in our lives as opposed to the modest roti,” he says.

An installation and performing artist, Becker will perform a live act at the event, where guests can toss a sweet to the artist’s mouth from a distance as he tries to catch and gulp it down. In the two-hour act, Becker will try to gulp down more than 300 gulab jamuns, for which he has been practicing hard for the last two months. “For my practice sessions, I substituted sweets with grapes, and asked my friends and family to toss a few in my mouth. Also, I’m stretching my stomach’s capacity by drinking 8-10 litres of water and eating cabbage,” he says.

Catch it live!

What: Roti Kapda Makan

by Ojas Art

When: April 13

Timing: 6pm onwards

Where: 1AQ, Qutab Minar Roundabout

Nearest metro station: Qutab Minar on yellow line

First Published: Apr 06, 2012 19:11 IST