The Art Column: April 20th 2018: A Montage of Masterpieces

(photo credit: Gallery7)

As Indian art encompassing 150 years goes on display and sale, Anjali Purohit draws up a personal wish list

The New Year Sale exhibition at Gallery 7 offers a collection that reflects the keen eye of a gallerist who has spent over four decades in promoting and showcasing some of the best names in the art world. It reflects a discerning yet eclectic aesthetics and offers a montage of Indian art through the past 150 years. It is, then, an opportunity for us to view the original works of a whole (I’m almost tempted to say, ‘pantheon’) representative sweep of Indian art as it evolved from the early twentieth century to the present. Names we have heard, artworks we have seen in pictures but now have occasion to see in the original. Additionally, if it will tempt you, the gallery is offering these works at rather generous discounted prices ranging from 25 to 75 per cent of market price.

It is impossible to describe 100 works by 50 masters in the space of a column. Instead, I give you my own personal ‘wish-list’ from the show:
On display is a set of ink drawings by F N Souza, one of the founding members of The Progressive Group, which are exquisite suggesting as they do the tension within the man-woman relationship and an impatience with the quotidian. These demonstrate how restraint and an economy of line can still result in such a powerful statement.

Bikash Bhattacharjee’s mix media painting Doll is sinister and disturbing. This is from his subversive Doll Series which were in response to the violence, disquiet and turbulence that could not have escaped anyone living in Bengal in the early ’70s. As in all of Bikash’s works, these paintings too are rich with suggestion, strong yet nuanced and offer multiple narratives that draw the viewer into its vortex.

Several works by the artist, printmaker and sculptor Somnath Hore are on show. Hore is known for his works that were a reaction to the severe times that he witnessed in Bengal during the first half of the 20th century, namely, the Bengal famine of 1943 and the Tebhaga movement. I saw at least four drawings in ink by Hore, one (untitled) suggesting figures inalienably tied to their land and their plough and then two works on ecru paper that has ‘Runglee Rangliot, the legendary Darjeeling tea, nothing else is quite the same’ printed on it. On this paper, then, is a drawing of a defeated figure slumped at a table on which stands an empty glass and an overturned bottle and the other is a skeletal vendor with a beedi between his fingers squatting with an empty basket behind him. The irony cannot be missed and this itself is that which makes these two drawings particularly distressing and poignant.

M V Dhurandhar was a prominent painter during the British era. Apart from mythological themes, he also depicted women captured during their quotidian occupations. A set of three small format pencil drawings from this artist is on offer and make for a beautiful vintage montage of that period framed as they are in a single frame. These are dated around 1910-11.

Then, of course, there are several works from Husain. Particularly, an oil on board, Baby Jesus and two Donkeys from his Mother Teresa Series and a mix media work in shades of copper and black called Cyprus-Ten which is rich with symbolism and vivacity.

Exceptional also are the works by Bhupen Khakker, Sakti Burman, Badri Narayan, K G Subramanyan, Akbar Padamsee, Altaf, K K Hebbar, Jogen Chowdhury and more. Don’t miss this chance to view (and perhaps own) artworks from some of the finest Indian artists.

 

Anjali Purohit is a writer, painter, poet, translator and conceptual vagabond with a yen for gadding about town.

The Column in the ADC48hrs can be viewed here – http://www.afternoondc.in/48-hrs/a-montage-of-masterpieces/article_221215

The Art Column

will be running my fortnightly column called ‘The Art Column’ starting 6th April 2018. I will be sharing the same here – 
4th May 2018:  Three Storeys of Art
20th April 2018: A Montage of Masterpieces

The Art Column: April 6th: The Smell of Pepper and Jasmine

Home > 48 Hrs > The Smell Of Pepper And Jasmine
This is the first of a fortnightly column in the newspaper Afternoon Despatch & Courier. I will be posting reviews of art shows in town –

The Smell Of Pepper And Jasmine

Friday, April 06, 2018

(photo credit: Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke)

Nine painters from Kerala come together to showcase the shared locality of their artistic practice and highlight their own individual preoccupations and styles. Anjali Purohit visits the exhibition

In the frantic pace of metropolitan living there is often a wish to escape to a place that will offer some respite from the blinding reflections in the glass-chrome-concrete monolithic ideal that our city is racing towards. That is when thoughts turn to the cool, green, salubrious surrounds of, where else but, the abundance of god’s own country. Till such time as one can plan a trip there-wards, however, we have Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke that brings the lush abundance of that state to Colaba in the form of the show Nine Painters from Kerala.

These are nine painters who have had a longstanding association with the gallery but are being shown together for the first time with the belief that the exhibition will evidence the shared locality of their artistic practice as well as highlight their own individual preoccupations and styles. The artists, Abul Hisham, Aji V.N., Arun K.S., C.K. Rajan, Jyothi Basu, Ratheesh T., Siji Krishnan, Sosa Joseph and Vinod Balak hold dialogue with each other through their work which also demonstrates their rootedness in the land from which these works arise—the culture and milieu of Kerala. The paintings on display begin to offer, by the way of complement and contrast, a vivid montage of the land in which they are grounded but then further take off from this point to express their own preoccupations with themes such as social structures, self, family, untamed nature, alienation, desire, death, urban realities and politics.

Rateesh T offer us a large work, The Smell of Pepper and Jasmine, which is a heady and immediately visceral one exuding as it does not only the smell of jasmine and pepper but also of the wet earth, of desire and fecundity. It is, I think, one of the strongest images that stays in one’s consciousness for quite a while.

Vinod Balak is equally powerful with his canvas, Last Supper, where he makes an arresting statement that depicts a ‘last supper’ with local political figures but which could well be situated in any other space in the nation. The figures are typically ranged around a table that holds empty plates and an enormous, ripe jackfruit just waiting to be cut opened and consumed.

Sosa Joseph’s art engages with the complex cultural mix of people in society, specifically her own native Mattancherry perhaps suggesting the intricate warp and weft of social relations that ought not to be rent.

Siji Krishnan presents a fascinating landscape depicted in washes of water colour on rice paper reminiscent of ancient parchment rolls. The colours in Snake Crosses the Landscape are soft, soothing, pastel. Here, an almost perfect and subtle landscape of rice fields peacefully coexisting with each other, of waterways and gently undulating mountains is disrupted by a snake crossing across almost end to end from the right to the left in the foreground. Dangerous or benign? As always with fine works of art, it is best this is left as an open question for the viewer to engage with.

This exhibition is surely one that must not be missed since these individual painters might have solo shows in the future, but the pleasure in ‘listening’ to these paintings hold a conversation with each other about a love that is shared for their land, is an opportunity that might not come again anytime soon.

Do also immerse yourself in the current exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art (across the road from the CSMVS Museum) where Art & Soul Gallery has curated an important retrospective exhibition of over 150 works by the legendary artist, Manu Parekh. Taken together, this show offers a comprehensive viewing of his over sixty years of extensive artistic practice and the depth, diversity and significance of his art. This exhibition will run till the 15th of April.

‘Nine Painters From Kerala’

Date March 9, 2018 to May 3, 2018

Venue The Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, First Floor, Sunny House, 16/18 Mereweather Road, Behind Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba

Day & Time Tuesdays to Saturdays
11 am to 7 pm

Anjali Purohit is a writer, painter, poet, translator and conceptual vagabond with a yen for gadding about town.

 

(published in The Afternoon Despatch & Courier here)

The Blues Trilogy

 

CERULEAN

 

I am blue under the cavernous boulder

tired, worn yet awake with you on this virgin soil

 

we play with dragonflies on the mist

Intense. The smoke rises to the skies

 

cerulean cannot hide under any colour

so I gather crystal ferns from the rocky shelter

 

Teal. Your eyes are sad and weary in the rain

we know once the showers stop we must part

 

yet you spin sapphire dreams that briefly hover

we lie entangled wary, fearing for what is to come after

and see that fatal light filter through the latticed cover

 

With what fond hope my love did we look for landmarks

remembering old times we fancied were forever.

 

 

LAPIS

 

We are suspicious beyond our narrow quarters

we barricade faith and trust, lock them in chains and fetters

 

we condone each other under duress

for it is our common sins that hold us to each other

 

be sure the heat will come again

all dry and sere about the flowers

 

even as we prod numb flames over the embers

then we’ll look for the word that was given in earnest

 

promises meant,  loyalties not yet forgotten

then we’ll tear at the barricades that we knowingly secured

 

recall, that vision swift, clear and silent

yet nameless on the edge of this burning forest

 

but now no words are left in whose arms

we leave our loves behind relying

only on those distant days we spent dreaming together.

 

 

INDIGO

 

We are both barefoot this warm and tender night,

I summon desires and diamonds from the dust

 

the moon will rise again

all huge before the wind

 

the stars descend amidst the fireflies

the twilight has come and gone away with the treasure

 

So I will go splintering before the air and seek

the ghosts of our dreams beneath the cinders

 

This insanity is hard, wavering, altered

lost in broad daylight yet upon us like a deluge tonight

 

To what end did we refugees miss our chance and turning

we capsize our boat willingly into the mute waters

it sinks silently out of sight.

 

(first published in The Bombay Review – A Journal of Literary Things : Jan-Feb 2016)

Hope Street Poets-KGAF 8th Feb ’17

It was a magical evening at the David Sassoon Library garden when the poets Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Michael Creighton, Prafull Shiledar, Subhro Bandopadhyay, Sumana Roy, Sampurna Chattarji, Nia Davies, Kamal Vora, Ranjit Hoskote, Jennifer Robertson, Rohinton Daruwala, Hemant Divate, Prabodh Parikh, Mustansir Dalvi, Anjali Purohit, Anand Thakore, Kala Ramesh and Dion D’Souza spun poetry into the evening as it turned into the night for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (Literature). A very special day in a very special place because the little garden there is an oasis of hope and proves that Hope does lie between the college and the library as that lane has been named till now.

The day was even more enchanting since some of us (quite a few of us, to be honest) were hosted at a brunch at the Mocking Bird cafe where we broke bread (and pizza) and generally brought the house down. Some images from the day –

An Insistent Music

Fear.jpg

The music was always in our ears
goose-stepping softly to a distant military tune
but the madman who perches by the signal

he could never hear it

then another beat rose to reverberate in our guts
drums and synthesizers in riotous processions
from dusk to dawn, emptying the streets into the sea.

the air thick with abir and gulal
eyes glazed, faces masked with revelry
the drums’ increasing tempo to the tune of currency

the procession danced crazier the air
scarlet, scarlet the faces and scarlet
the sky as far as you could see

the madman left his perch as every procession
approached, joining in yet keeping a respectful distance
feet keeping time

waving multicoloured rags over his head
he whirled and danced his dance
laughing and clapping his hands

isn’t being shut in just as bad as being shut out?

the roll of drums and cymbals closes in

darkening the horizon
the music that was always in our ears
marches faster, stronger, louder, bolder

now he hears it too yet he dances
with the same abandon
swirling and waving

and the streets empty into the sea

then suddenly he is alone
just him and the music

he sees the boots marching
to a military tune

he stands there by the traffic light
arms by his side, the rags limp in his hands
his grey beard gone pink with the colour

settling around him on the asphalt at his feet
the night is dark, uniform crisp sharp steps are all he hears.

 

(First published in Guftugu: Indian Cultural Forum)

DNA (from Teksto – the Peoples’ Magazine of the North East India Company)

Whoever was born a tabula rasa?
I came from the womb
with the history of our ancestors
the forks in their tongues
and the venom on their lips
interwoven into the strands of my DNA
wash, scrub and rinse, abrade and buff
it won’t come off.

Put on all the liberal masks of the world
one over the other yet
there will be a chink where the cosmetics melt
and the BB cream cracks
to show teeth and fangs
and atavistic passions
that would put our tribal past to shame

haven’t we now devised means so clinical,
long distant, sophisticated and global
that we can vanquish
entire peoples without a spot of blood
on our manicured white hands.

(First published in Teksto – the Peoples’ Magazine of the North East India Company)

30th March 2016, Celebrating Poetry with PEN All India Centre

The PEN All-India Centre, The Consulate General of the United States, Mumbai and Kitab Khana come together to create synergies between Indian English Poets and American Poets at the Kitab Khana, Fort, Mumbai on Wednesday, 30th March 2016. We have esteemed delegates from the Iowa University’s International Writing Program( IWP).
The overarching theme for the evening’s reading is ‘Defending Free Expression’. The poets reading that evening are –

Sandra Alcosser
Adil Jussawalla

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Sampurna Chattarji
Menka Sivadasani
Ranjit Hoskote
Mustansir Dalvi

Rochelle Potkar

Anjali Purohit
Jennifer Robertson
12799173_10154022920094140_4399353489543018469_n

ARCHIVING ERASURES: EXAMINING MEMORY

Reflecting Erasures poster

Some Photographs from the event –

 

The paintings here –

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A brief outline of the talk –

First, a poem about memory –

TAMARIND SEEDS

Burnt sienna, raw umber, mahogany

twelve shiny tamarind seeds

stowed away in an old tin box on the loft

 

between the stack of copper vessels

and a rusty locked iron trunk

whose key can never be found

 

Mother played with them when she was little

and taught me when I was six

 

to sit cross legged on the floor

fling them on the ground

toss one up and pick the others

before it fell down

 

invent words and tunes,

conjure worlds and magic wands

that set things right

 

spells, monsters and evil witches

trounced by good people who live happily ever after

 

lazy summer afternoons, a soft muslin nine yard saree

and the sweet smell of a grandmothers lap

a little girl in a mango stained petticoat

 

grazed shins from the rough bark outside her window

of the neem and the gulmohor

holding hands to spread a filigreed pandal overhead

 

a fragrant carpet of crimson petals and chrome seeds at her feet

her treasure of tamarind seeds before her

with the gleam of cats eye, jasper, topaz and quartz

 

her dowry and her trousseau

you can throw a seed at the sky

and will it the power to hide the sun

 

girls become women and tin boxes

with tamarind seeds and sweet scented childhoods

get put on the loft where the sun cannot reach

 

not forgotten but ignored

like some words we are too embarrassed to speak

because they’ve grown labels

 

Let us take the box down today

spread them all before us again

toss them in the air

see how they fall

 

do love and loyalty stay close

do trust and honesty blink

from being in the dark all these years

or can they still look the sun in the eye

do truth and reason keep a distance

or do they hold hands, take wing and fly

like butterflies and birds

set free from the nets

 

if we manage to get them all afloat perhaps

we’ll also rescue gossamer wings.

 

Today I’d like to speak about memory, history, self identity, displacement and the consequences of erasures. All of this especially in the context of the erasures effected during the course of a rapidly metamorphosing metropolis (particularly our own city, Mumbai) that seems to be hurtling towards being ‘Shanghaied’. I’d like to speak about my response to these transformations where I attempt, through my work on canvas and with words to retrieve, record and archive the things that have symbolizes the spirit of this city and that held significance not only to me but to very many denizens of these streets who also share this love for our city, our ‘watan’.

 

  1. I) Memory forms the history of an object or being. The history of a person is his self identity. Identity defines character and character shapes action which results in the act of creation/production and events which then leads to the evolution of the being – object, person, the individual or a city.

 

Thus a person is defined by his actions, by his story – history.

 

I believe that the city too is an organic being – it develops, grows, has a character that is defined and shaped by its history. Both, its broad economic and social history as well as the particular histories of the people, individuals, communities and neighbourhoods that have organically grown around commercial and professional activity.

 

Mumbai has been shaped by the industry, trade and businesses that grew here along with the neighbourhoods that served these activities and the populace that served these trades, industry and business. People from diverse regions from within as well as outside the nation’s borders converged to be nurtured by the city as well as to nurture it themselves – a symbiotic relationship that also resulted in the intermingling of different cultures, social backgrounds and classes. This gave the city its consmopolitanism – a dynamic culture that was alive, symbiotic, enriching and inclusive.

 

2) The past two decades have seen Mumbai moving far too rapidly towards a rather drastic transformation. In that process, it is obliterating – erasing – many aspects of the city that symbolized and shaped the very character of the city.

 

Palimpsest is what is leftover from successive erasures. It is an indelible record, an archive, of the ghosts of erasures. Scars perhaps, that remain even when the animal is moulting.

 

Mumbai, then, is moulting, shedding its skin and metamorphosing.

 

Mills give way to malls, expansive chawls with teakwood rafters and wide wooden staircases worn down by several generations of footfall make way for cold towers of glass and chrome, the welcoming Irani cafe at every street corner is eased out by lounges, restobars and pubs, simple childhood games fade before gaming and gadgets, communities scatter before the massive JCB earthmovers …and the megapolis carries out many erasures.

 

In the face of this rapid transformation we obliterate many aspects that have symbolized the ethos of the city. The erasures therefore are not only of structures but also of its history and character. Many of the things that stood as the essence of the spirit of the city seem to lose relevance. The erasures then, are obliterations from public discourse, public memory and from relevance. Erasures of context, of significance, of values, milieu, of a way of life, of aspirations and co existence.

 

 

3) Thus, it is not a nostalgic remembrance of ‘the good old days’, or a recitation of ‘in our time…’ nor even a Luddite position of opposing all change but rather a statement that attempts to underline the ramifications of obliterating something that was crucial in building this city over several generations. Something that had given the city its dynamism and its character as being open, open minded, safe and modern. So even as we replace that musty old chawl with a spanking new gated community, drive out vendors from the streets and replace them with malls selling vegetables in plastic wrap, replace the Irani café and udupi restaurant with swanky coffee shops and burger outlets – we are yet left with the question of whether this implies progress, ‘development’, an advancement and betterment of Mumbai as a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis or is all of this leading the city towards becoming more parochial and exclusivistic, towards breaking of the community spirit and leading its people into becoming self directed, isolated and alienated – all of which implies a breaking of the city’s cosmopolitan character and, perhaps, a retrograde movement towards becoming more and more provincial and narrow minded.

 

4) What does a writer or painter do who is witness to this sad history of her city? She can retrieve, record, archive and point to these erasures. Try to outline the palimpsest (in the form of memory) left behind – to capture its bylanes, mills, Irani cafes, behemoths, chawls, chimneys, alleys, staircases, corridors and doorways not only because they are part of personal as well as collective memory, but also because they have defined and shaped the complexion of Mumbai – the warp and weft of the social fabric of this city and the character and spirit of its people.

 

Presenting then, a collage in Paint and Poetry – Some love letters to Bombay/Mumbai

 

ELOPEMENT

A cruel sun beat down and roasted to a crisp within an hour

spices and red chilies laid out to dry on the pavement

then, like the child wanting to create fire with a lens and straw

it shone back reflecting from a million walls of glass

 

and multiplied enough to start a fire in the belly of the rubble

of wood, brick and Mangalore tiles all bulldozed in an organic heap

waiting to rise again like a new glass and chrome phoenix temple

demanding obeisance – tall, smooth, silent, intimidating and sleek.

 

Smooth the realtor’s tongue, intimidating the muscle power

behind his safari suit, silent the automated window pane of his jaguar

tall his promise of alternate shelter, sleek the polarized Ray Bans that cover

his swiftly calculating eyes – glass and chrome hot enough to start a fire

 

no place to hide or rest or nest and that was when the swift footed squirrel

eloped far away elsewhere with the soft feathered sparrow never to return.

 

RECLAMATION

There it is, that sound

the constant hypnotic stacatto

iron wheels on iron rails

the track waits for none

 

and the impatient crowd on the platform holds its breath

for a momentary pause in that rhythm

so they may enter and be one with it.

 

There it is, the tick tock

like blood in your veins the pulse of the clock

a beat that rules your feet

tethered to the treadmill at an unceasing urgent pace

running faster even to remain at the same place

 

and the smothered impatient thoughts hold their breath

for a momentary blink to get a toehold into your mind

that might compel you to think.

 

There it is, the roar

that restive thrashing at the shore

the restless wave on the rocks protesting reclamation

the ominous hum of earthmovers,

silent evictions and demolitions and giant cement mixers

snaking about everywhere like vipers

 

and the impatient wave holds its breath

for even a momentary pause, a chink

in the machine’s armour so it may reclaim

the territory that was rightly hers.

 

WHEN THE MOON IS FULL

When the moon is full and bloated with the sins of men

and with the lies that they speak, then she puts on a jaundiced halo

and reflects a light so blinding that the people may not see

and cringe and die in shame at the horrors that their wantonness has begot.

When the moon is full and bloated.

 

Then she picks up her weary satchel to set off on her lonesome beat

Through the alleys and the subways of the city that is on heat.

 

Searching for that one act of kindness from hands that do not seek

For courage and compassion in this city that is on heat.

 

Seeking a mind that still finds meaning in syllables

forming tenuous words that people are too embarrassed to speak

she searches on her lonely beat.

 

And when she finds them she exults at this redemption like

an excited schoolboy unearthing a stash of marbles who marvels at his find,

she exults at this redemption.

 

Then bathes them in her gentle light

He cleans his treasure with tender care

 

She covers them with her mantle

He wraps it in brown paper

 

She returns to the skies

He hurries home with his prize

 

She guards them through the night

He conceals it out of sight

 

She stands vigil with the stars and the fireflies

When the moon is full.

 

BEARING WITNESS

From the dark wooden staircase worn down under five generations of footfall

From Teen Batti, Saat rasta, Kaala Chowki, Lalbaug and Shivdi

to the ST bus depots at Bombay Central, Parel and Dadar running

extra services during April, September and October

eager happy families, kids, aji and atya with brass boxes

full of laddoos and rexine bags with zippers that do not work

carrying little gifts of childrens’ clothes and plastic toys that will

put stars in the eyes of nieces and nephews.

 

ST buses loaded with bodies aching for rest, for quiet

and for tight embraces of brothers that stayed back

or went back defeated by the city of bright lights.

 

Kin they must necessarily invite

to every function in the family – happy or tragic

if they don’t feed them on the thirteenth day of the funeral

who else is there when they themselves pass?

 

Of all the attachments the city breeds is there one as strong

and compelling as the call of the red soil he left behind

barren, meager, dry and unproductive, yes

yet his very own.

 

FINDING A VOICE

And I want it this way

Cafe Mondegar with you on a Saturday night

when it is crammed full of peoples voices

 

clatter of cutlery and Mondy’s Crew

shouting out orders over our heads

the air warm and spilling over with

 

beer smell and the merry old man smiling

from a frame on the wall beside

a Budweiser in blue and red neon lights.

 

on the busy walls, another of the crew frozen forever

in a goofy smile with foam overflowing

the six beer mugs he manages in one hand and

 

behind him the buggy horse with a quizzical smile for

the lobster that jumps up from a plate and bites the nose

of an astonished patron, napkin tucked into collar

 

knife and fork raised in anticipation,

if Hoshang is on the premises

he’ll tell you its history all over again.

 

Our bentwood chairs right next to the juke box

hard rock on a loop, loud, very loud

languages crisscrossing above in disciplined warps and wefts

 

till they become a dialect all its own

and it descends like an insistent fabric

resisting purification or decipherment

 

the air as crowded as the seven column menu

sandwiched between the glass and the checkered gingham

loud, very loud so we can’t hear each other speak

 

and we fall as silent as the stir fried

pepper garlic prawns on a Mario-print plate

silent as the condensation on the cool dark bottle

 

silent as the pool at its feet

Then I will hear only what your eyes speak

listen to your hands as they rest on the table

 

read the history your burnished skin reveals and

the whisper of the wave in your hair as she softens

the blows life has thrown at you.

 

I want it this way, no words between us

just that which settles down on us from above

 

we’ll slip in between the binaries to reach

a fuzzy logic beyond denotations

 

not what you said but the implication of the gap

that lies behind it wanting to be read

the semantics of the spaces between your words.

 

for the times to grow silent are upon us now and we must

hold our tongues, adjust the kerning, leave room for our silences

to express that which we dare not speak out loud anymore

 

so then we will plot a conspiracy

and make muteness a weapon for our mutiny.

 

A PRELUDE TO PASSION

The mynah calling

Late for work

The leaf a trembling

Just can’t shirk.

 

Dewdrops unnoticed

Grab a bite on the go

Clouds a gathering

Will miss the 8.20 slow.

 

Wait, don’t go

Where the heck are my socks?

It’s a beautiful day, take a CL today

Door shuts and the key turns in the lock.

 

The house still calls

Behind the locked door

Two empty glasses on the table

Still asking for more.

 

A deep dark sigh

Echoes to its own call

Louder at every turn

Beyond the solitary hall.

 

It whirls on its toes

And fills every room

Drums out the emptiness

And pirouettes round the gloom.

 

Till nothing else is left

But the swirling of its sound

Like a dervish in his dance

Oblivious and unbound.

 

Then it falls exhausted

With yet a hope in its sight

Busy as the day might have been, there’s still

The promise of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

ASIATIC SOCIETY: 4TH Dec 2015 – RECORDING ERASURES: REFLECTING MEMORY – An exploration through words, verse and image.

Reflecting Erasures poster.jpgChange implies replacing the old with a new order – erasures and overwriting. Society in general and cities particularly have seen very rapid changes in the past decade. Mumbai especially seems to be in a hurry to transform almost every aspect of its being.

Anjali Purohit, an artist, writer and poet living in Mumbai, has been witness to the sad history of this metropolis for the past forty years; witness to some of the erasures effected during the course of this metamorphosis and also to the palimpsest that it leaves behind. Most of her work – both in words and in paint – reflect her exploration of her relation with this her mutating homeland, her ‘watan’ where she tries to capture its bylanes, cafes, mills, behemoths, chawls, chimneys, alleys, staircases, corridors and doorways not only because they are part of personal as well as collective memory but also because they have symbolized, defined and shaped the complexion of Mumbai, the warp and weft of the social fabric of this city and the character and spirit of its people.

 Recording Erasures: Reflecting Memory will attempt to explore this archival memory through the work and poetry of the writer/painter and to examine how such memory (palimpsest), despite attempts at erasures, still holds relevance, significance and validation without which, perhaps, our lives, to that extent, remain poorer.