Fragmented Life | খন্ডিত জীবন

Anjan Modak
– August 5 to August 31, 2020

Click here to view the Exhibition

With the nationwide lockdown declared on 24 March, the government halted all forms of public transport and shut down markets to protect its citizens. It helped those who could afford to stay in but not those outside this circle of protection. The lockdown wreaked havoc on the migrant labourers, who were left starving and homeless in many big cities of India and unprotected against the virus. The entire nation was shocked to witness the incredible suffering and deaths of the migrant workers making their long journey home on foot in the sweltering heat of the summer. Affected by the sights of suffering, Anjan Modak has painted the series of small size, circular-format paintings titled Fragmented Life, showing the dismal experiences of the migrant workers in the hard times of pandemic.

Though topical, the series of paintings can be seen as part of the artist’s large body of works that represents the life of the working class. Showing mastery in narrative figuration, these works invoke no triumph of labour, but an aesthetics of the everyday life, connecting mundane, commonplace objects, gestures, memories and emotions to the wider, dominant social and political forces shaping the popular life of the society. Drawing on diverse visual traditions, from surrealism and puppetry to biology textbook illustrations, in his paintings Anjan, an insider and well familiar with the complexity of the subaltern mentalities, marked by the sense of subordination, anomie and insecurity, does not represent the subaltern life merely objectively, but as a layered, fragmented narrative of body, history and the city.

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