The State of Bengal
This installation is a response to my environment. This is one of my working methods, to take from everyday life.
I work in interventions. Interventions on symbols and language - that carry within them a set of codes and meanings that are apparent to the viewer or the user. The grandeur of the Victoria Memorial, the endearing cottage industries symbol of the Bankura horse and the delicate elegance of the tatted or crocheted doily are read and regarded by us in a particular manner.
What happens when those readings are distorted, subverted or intervened on?
The Victoria Memorial, Calcuttas symbol for the City of Joy is also a marble tomb to the dead aspirations: the queen will visit: she never did, Bengals Glory, which is dying a slow death today. Those aspirations and promises have been drowned in the sound track of the city today: blaring traffic, air horns and aural chaos.
The Bankura Horse, with its perky ears and upright frame may evoke in us connections to the Asvamedha ceremony, even the treacherous gift of the Trojan horse. Here it is the symbol of rural handicrafts and is made of the rich red earth of Bengal. These horses have been painted a Wedgwood Blue the colour made famous by a British ceramist. Wedgwood pottery was always decorated with pastoral scenes, idyllic English country- side themes. My intervention is to taking over the red earth colour with an English blue. Idyllic and rural dont exactly go together in Bengal anymore.
The politeness of teatime also an English legacy- has been intervened by a text: Divide and Rule. Enmeshed in the fabric of the doily are the words: Divide and Rule. Bengal was divided and ruled first in 1905, and continues to be fragmented between those who have and those who dont, those who run it and those who try and survive in it.
Governments have changed but systems remain the same.
This works aims at raising some questions only. This, I believe in the power of art. To ask, to point out, to wonder in the hope that more will, and a collective consciousness can be raised. And maybe then, meaningful change can take place.
For more photographs from Bankura: