Responding to their surroundings as well as the history being made in this moment, Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts decided to launch four artists’ interactive public projects to respond both sensitively and artistically
The self-quarantine has proved to be a mammoth challenge for most of us, including artists. Most artists are naturally creating art as a response, but this particular initiative by Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts, that includes public interaction within the art-making process, is an excellent way to ground the response within our collective consciousness. ‘Through our #SurvivingSQ initiative shared on our social media platforms, we have received paintings that imagine landscapes without human presence; videos that critique public gestures of solidarity; messages of hope through regional translations of Richard Hendrick’s seminal poem Lockdown. We have also launched four full-fledged, original campaigns: Pallavi Paul’s Share Your Quiet, Kedar Dhondu’s Lonely Residents, Tanya Goel’s The virus in the air, is abstract, and Ipshita Maitra’s Metaphor of Contrasts,’ said the curatorial note.
Ipshita Maitra, Metaphor of Contrasts. Image Courtesy of the artist and the Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts.
Pallavi Paul’s ‘Share Your Quiet’ is meant to draw your observations to the quietude around you, whilst making you conscious of a natural aura in the absence of human presence. The project itself is meant to be a sound archive that records a period of both isolation and inclusion from different parts of India and the world. ‘The crisis, the world before and what will come after are all connected to one another. The idea came from the melee of noise, sound and light that has been made into an index of public spirit. There are many who have withdrawn from this bullish display; the project is a space for their quietude. Here quiet is a not a space of tranquillity but of tempestuousness.’
Kedar Dhondu, Lonely Residents. Image Courtesy of the artist and the Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts
Reflecting on the overwhelming feeling of the lockdown, Ipshita Maitra’s Metaphor of Contrast talks of ‘…inviting people to ‘look’ and recognise colour harmony that exists all around us – all the time, which would give us multiple palettes’. Her photo essay series invites viewers to observe the colours that are inherent without the cacophony of reality. ‘This colour theory is actually the foundation of a lot of the work I do – it’s an old master technique and has been used by artists for centuries but is not often spoken about... I came across it several years ago and I could see my work change radically in the way I was now both seeing and recording colour.’
Tanya Goel, The virus in the air, is abstract. Image Courtesy of the artist and the Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts
As a local resident of Goa, Kedar’s work often reflects the narrative of his people, the changes and the way the land reflects them. In this particular work, however, things change. ‘Earlier, when quarantine had begun in Italy around February 23, 2020, for most of the people “it was like a holiday”... I thought to make use of my drawing skills to portray the residents who have confined themselves in their homes, who are tensed, worried and struggling to fight the pandemic.’ ‘I felt that by giving importance to residents all over the world, by representing them in the form of art, also gives us the opportunity to become aware of so many things.’
Pallavi Paul (sound video by participant Pradeep L. Mishra), Share Your Quiet. Image Courtesy of the artist and the Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts
Finally, Tanya Goel’s project on ‘The virus is in the air’ becomes the reflection of a sublime oneness of the artist with nature – perhaps an even more universal narrative. ‘During my state-imposed quarantine, I am biding time, making ‘video stills’, as the disease is sublime, and art is just the passing of time. These video stills begin as an ode to Tarkovsky, but slowly, through the passing of time, and prolonged looking, but also, mostly by chance, capture the surrounding sounds; sound of trains, airplanes and conversations, that document the current state of our lives in a strange, abstract and inexplicable state of suspension while I am longing for equilibrium.’