Mumbai Local

Art from the oppressed

The celebrations of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary on Thursday took various shapes across Maharashtra. Among them were two exhibitions in the city with Dalit art as their theme, both put together by the Photography Promotion Trust (PPT). Photojournalist and Padma Shri awardee Sudharak Olwe, founder of PPT, said, “Each community has its own form of expression. This is ours.” PPT put the exhibitions together without any sponsorship. “We only got money to rent the space,” Mr Olwe said.

The visual art exhibition, Colours of Dissent: Reiterating Contemporary Ambedkar, is curated by Shabana Ali, research scholar at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU. It features 21 works by 11 artists, including Savi Sawarkar, Uttam Ghosh and Jaya Daronde.

“The idea has been to bring artists who have identified with caste issues and have lent expression to the Dalit subject on canvas,” Ms Ali told The Hindu. Artist Uttam Ghosh puts it this way: “Any form of artistic expression that depicts the struggles of the downtrodden and breaks away from the hegemony of mainstream art can come under Dalit art.”

Mr Ghosh, whose painting Tribute to Vilas pays homage to Dalit poet Vilas Ghogre and the 1997 Ramabai massacre (if the work finds a buyer, Mr Ghosh will give the proceeds to Rohith Vemula’s mother), feels that the exhibition is happening at a very apt time, when any kind of dissent is being trampled upon. The second exhibition, The Blue Icon: Identity and Emergence of the Blue Insignia, displays old and rare pictures of Dr Ambedkar along with photographs by students of PPT. Colours of Dissent : Artists Centre, Kala Ghoda, up to April 17, every day from 11am to 7pm. Details: Shabana Ali (9892263462); The Blue Icon : Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, up to April 21. Details: Sudharak Olwe (9820904212)

The writer is an intern with The Hindu


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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 8:26:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/art-from-the-oppressed/article8478145.ece

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