The glitter and the grind: See art that shows two sides of city living
Jagannath Panda’s new show, Crystal Cities, raises ethical questions about how people’s differing beliefs play out in a single space in an urban setting.
Just a tiny part of a pretty black-and-grey butterfly’s wing is out of the wall, escaping the boundary. The rest is boxed-in in a painting mounted on a wall. Could that be us, city dwellers? We live here for the glamour and the comfort. But are we all merely trapped by the illusion, just part of a grind.
In his show Crystal Cities, artist Jagannath Panda continues his artistic practice of creating urban narratives with paintings, sculptures and installations, asking some hard-hitting questions.
Crystal serves as the metaphor for the city. “It is a desired object, but it changes colour depending on how light falls on it. It basically creates maya,” says Panda. “Similarly, people are attracted to cities, but that too has many dimensions, realities and narratives.”
Panda is known to use materials such as plastic, glass in his works. For this exhibition, he incorporates a shiny fabric that almost looks like metal. “The idea is to talk about ethical questions between light and dark.”
The artist, originally from Assam and now based in Gurgaon, has been intrigued by the changing landscape of a city. “People come to a city and have their own utopias and beliefs. I have witnessed these from close quarters after moving to a city.”
A gentleman in the artist’s neighbourhood thought it’s his dharma (duty) to feed street dogs and would often drive around the area feeding biscuits to the dog, says Panda. But many others objected as they didn’t want any street dogs around. “It’s interesting to see these different stories and expectations play out or negotiate in one space,” says Panda.