Evocative online art exhibition captures Kashmir Valley’s pain
Mahatma Gandhi, holding his stick, stares from the sky at a Kashmiri child who also walks holding a stick because he has been blinded by pellets. The bandage on a 5-year-old’s eyes, damaged by pellets, asks “Why” (See picture). Hands hold steadfast onto barbed wires demanding “Azaadi” even as blood trickles down.
Many such evocative frames of art work on the ongoing Kashmir turmoil, by artists from Kashmir as well as mainland India, are displayed on an online exhibition, ‘To Art is to Resist’, that went live on Thursday. As of now, the exhibition features 52 pieces of art work but with submissions open, it may expand. Most Kashmiris would not be able to see the art work as internet services have been blocked in the state. On the other hand, people outside the Valley can access it and get a sense of what the Kashmir turmoil is like.
The exhibition showcases art works produced “in response to the crisis in Kashmir that emerged in July 2016”. The exhibition features work by prominent Kashmiri artists like Masood Hussain, cartoonist Mir Suhail and Syed Mujtaba Rizvi. It also features the works of other Indian artists such as Baroda-based Rollie Mukherjee, New Delhi-based Inder Salim, Assam-based Anupam Saikia.
The exhibition is curated by Rizvi, a Srinagar-based artist, under the banner of Gallerie One — Srinagar’s first art gallery that was vandalized by state authorities last year within a month of its inauguration. Rizvi said, “Conceptually, it would be an exhibition which Kashmiris can’t see – because people would not be able to come out in curfew. The physical exhibition will hopefully be organised in a few days.”
Rollie Mukherjee says, “The situation in Kashmir is so volatile that one can’t be silent anymore...As the situation demands, artists are doing the best ever from their side.”