Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An artist who portrays miseries of those building tomorrow’s India

Born in 1975 in New Delhi, artist-architect Martand Khosla draws from both streams. He emphasizes on environmentally friendly and socially conscious architectural practice, keen to take part in the creation of the urban landscape of India.

He interacts with the harsh reality and myth of urban development through several avenues – from providing the workers with a distinct visage and individual identity, by interacting with them and conveying a sense of their hapless experience at construction sites and also through their near disenfranchisement from the official or State machinery. Here are the facets of his new series of works, entitled ‘City of Hope – I’ and City of Hope – II’ that exhibit these qualities:
  • The exhibition takes its title from a group of work comprising 4 imagined cities that evoke India’s overflowing urban migration that locate cities as the reservoirs of hope and livelihood. The 4 City of Hope are constructed as reliefs with a repetitive pattern of dwelling on which Martand ties some mauli (red sacred thread), which alludes to a jalli (latticework) upon which mannat (wish; hope) rests.
  • Martand Khosla creates a body of work using the text of the Olga Tellis court judgment granting pavement dwellers permission to sleep on pavements. The court ruling is important because it talks of human dignity, right to life and the responsibility of the municipality and State to all its citizens.
  • It is an important text which safeguards the privileges of the underprivileged. Using this text the artist weaves bags for the tools of the daily wage workers on construction sites bestowing dignity to the workers by recognizing and bringing to attention their contribution, skill and expertise in building our urban dream.
  • He also creates a fruit sellers cart, meticulously covering numerous fruits with the text of the judgment but he lends it that sharp social comment that flavours all his work by breaking a wheel of the cart, rendering it handicapped. Thus the artist informs us of the gap between judicial and State promises and practices.

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