The second wave of Covid-19 in India calls for a greater humanitarian effort that can help to restore the post-Covid ordinary life everyone is craving. Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta have dedicated their artistic endeavors to help covid relief operations across India. A series of nine signature artworks exploring the objects and rituals of ordinary life are on sale from 1 June 2021. The artists hope to raise INR 1 crore towards sustainable long-term aid and donate 100% sale proceeds to Hemkunt Foundation and Goonj in support of their relief efforts.
People have suffered immensely during the last few months and have endured the loss of lives of loved ones on a large scale. Bharti says, “Watching the past few weeks unfold in India has been traumatic for every family. Almost all of us have been touched in one way or another by the unprecedented scale of the second Covid wave in India. So, we decided to help in the way that we could as artists.”
Bharti Kher’s series of artwork called ‘A Small World Together’ uses collages bindis of different colors, shapes, and sizes onto existing world maps. These maps invoke a sense of global connectivity, collective, and patterns of movements addressing a larger issue of the ongoing crisis and broader humanity. She says, “We are one civilization, one species, and one planet. Fighting one virus that we can’t see with the naked eye, that can be killed by soap and water on your skin but travels through the air like the wind. It has made us think about how we breathe, who we touch, how we as people interact.” The artworks visually address a sense of anxiety in the viewer by knowingly distorting and transforming certain aesthetics of the crisis, wherein metrics are presented through graphic dots, lines, and colour-coding of places.
Considering the urgency of the Covid crisis and the need to restore ordinary life, Gupta says “Art can’t change the world on its own but it can make it a kinder and more human place to live in. Our works are both witness to and a celebration of the value of the ordinary and everyday markers of human habit and daily ritual. In our small way, we just wanted to help in this huge humanitarian effort that brings us all closer together in the spirit of sharing”
Gupta’s works comment on the mundanity of kitchen utensils, creating a dialogue between the functional and humble elements in our domestic lives, which have taken on even greater importance through lockdowns and the centralization of home as a symbiotic space. The raw brush strokes on linen evoke the sounds and smell of his late mother’s kitchen in Bihar, quietly capturing the essence of cooking on the ground, always close to the earth. His artwork, ‘A Bouquet of Flowers’ reinterprets the ordinarily short lifespan of flowers in stainless steel, while the paintings ‘My Village I and II’ engage in the genre of rural still life.
Artworks by Bharti Kher.
Arworks by Subodh Gupta.
To explore and buy the artworks visit: www.pledgebybhartiandsubodh.com