Wednesday, 8 June 2011

People, chained by monotony afraid to think, clinging to certainties... they live like ants - Bela Lugosi

Indian traditional paintings till the colonial period (in the Mughal period the elements of design is evident) showed a great amount of design in portraying trees, architectural setups, figures etc. Indian traditional painters had developed trained eyes to look at an object in terms of pattern and stylization. During the late eighteenth century Britishers were look at the world around them in a fresh manner which has come to be known as ‘the picturesque and ‘the sublime’. In England typical books such as Picturesque Representation of the Dress and Manners of the English (1814) or T.L. Busby’s Costumes of the Lower Orders of London (1826) were being published. When Britishers came to India almost every aspect of the Indian life provided suitable subjects for sketching: picturesque costumes, occupations and methods of transportation and so on. Not surprisingly, they selected Indian artists to deal with mass documentation of flora and fauna, portraits etc...

The Moochys (artists of India) enthusiastically welcomed their new patrons by the readiness to adjust their style and subject matter. The conscious attempt of Indian artists to meet European demands for accurate depiction is evident in many of the portraitures. The introduction of Government school of Art in colonial India created a new class of “artists” in India who were diverged from indigenous forms of tradition art. The outcome was an academic system still rooted in the British educational system. During discourses on art and design, I often felt that we forget the tradition of miniature or mural paintings and the politics behind the origin of fine arts colleges. The new term ‘visual arts’ opened a platform for a wide range of practices that were related to art. This might be because of the understanding of this inevitable past or history.

Peers is ‘neo’ in the sense that it includes students from different disciplines. Muthiah, the tallest person amongst us, is a student of visual communication and his interest suffuses to animation, design, print making, graphic design etc. He works very freely without bothering about the ‘end product’ or he might not believe in the ‘end product’ itself. While conversing with him, I got to know he conceived this space to enjoy the work, travel through experiences, new materials and experimentations. After academic studies it is not easy to accommodate many interests and explore places for many reasons. The force of modernization and modernity compels us to lead a mechanical life, which unfortunately buys the person – his/her life, dreams, desires and love and pushes us into a monotonous life. Moreover, the norms and beliefs of our society discourage a person to live in adventure and diversity. This might be the reality many of us face. Muthiah is working on this concept of monotony which bolts dreams and passions together, transforming a human into a machine. He is materializing this ideology by using a machines and a canvas. The machine is conceived as a strong metaphor of mechanical life and monotony. And he is thinking to create an interactive space which might be a platform to touch the naivety of life.  

Muthiah making woodcut prints
Sketches from Muthiah's diary

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