Chintan takes up paint­ing in num­bers

Thane jail pris­on­ers make their de­but at art ex­hi­bi­tion af­ter tak­ing up paint­ing un­der mur­der ac­cused Chintan Upad­hyay’s tute­lage


ARTIST Chintan Upad­hyay is not the only one who has mas­tered the art of liv­ing be­hind bars. Nine other un­der­tri­als at Thane jail have flour­ished into artists un­der his tute­lage and will now make their de­but at an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Cym­roza Art Gallery in Breach Candy on March 17 and 18.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is called Tab­ula Rasa, which means ‘clean slate’ in Latin. It is part of a larger ini­tia­tive called Art from Be­hind Bars (AFBB).

While Chintan has par­tic­i­pated in AFBB ex­hi­bi­tions be­fore, this will be the first time for the other un­der­tri­als. The Thane in­mates’ work will ap­pear along­side art­work from By­culla jail. The ex­hi­bi­tion will also fea­ture art by a self­trained artist called Sudeb Pal, who was an in­mate of Nashik jail but is now lodged in Mor­shi jail (Am­ra­vati).

The Thane pris­on­ers started dab­bling in art un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Chintan, a renowned con­tem­po­rary painter and sculp­tor, who is fac­ing trial for the mur­der of his es­tranged wife and fel­low artist Hema Upad­hyay and her lawyer, Har­ish Bhamb­hani.

There have been nu­mer­ous re­ports about how Chintan has been paint­ing through his angst in jail and started work­shops for in­mates.

These nine are fine

“Chintan started train­ing 1820 in­mates who joined the work­shops. The fi­nal group that stuck on till the end of the work­shop, spread over two weeks, re­duced to nine in­mates. There was one un­der­trial who had a good cal­li­graphic hand. The rest have never had any ex­po­sure to art,” said Kavita Shiv­dasani, man­ag­ing trustee of the Da­gar Path­way Trust, which spon­sors the AFBB ini­tia­tive.

Shiv­dasani clar­i­fied that it may be an ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that the nine were “trained by Chintan”. “Proper train­ing would re­quire a lot more time than two weeks. But Chintan did do in­ter­est­ing art ex­er­cises and demon­strate in­ter­est­ing tech­niques, and got them to create along those lines,” said the trustee, adding, “He was the fa­cil­i­ta­tor.”

Let­ting go

Giv­ing an ex­am­ple of the in­ter­est­ing tech­niques, Shiv­dasani ex­plained, “Chintan got the group to start by sketch­ing the face of an­other par­tic­i­pant in pen­cil. The pa­per was then swapped with some­body else, who con­tin­ued the work in crayon, then swapped again with an­other in­mate who used acrylic paint. Ul­ti­mately, that sin­gle work was com­pleted by yet an­other per­son. This was an ex­er­cise in let­ting go of ego; the work you started is com­pleted by some­one else, and you must ac­cept that.”

Noted colour ther­a­pist Amisha Me­hta, who worked with By­culla in­mates, said, “When I worked with the By­culla women pris­on­ers, they all got stuck in the rou­tine — ponds and hills and falls, which are so typ­i­cal. The idea was to let go of form and let the work be free flow­ing.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion will also fea­ture a piece by Sudeb Pal, who, Shiv­dasani said, “has ma­tured im­mensely through the seven years he has par­tic­i­pated in the AFBB ini­tia­tives. His forte is sur­real, his work is dis­turb­ing, ex­pres­sive of emo­tions, deal­ing with so­cial is­sues.”

The in­au­gu­ra­tion is slated for 11 am on March 17, at the hands of Mum­bai’s Ra­j­vard­han Sinha, spe­cial IG of po­lice (pris­ons). All sale pro­ceeds will go to the ap­pro­pri­ate jail, or in­mate, or his fam­ily. TAKEN out your frus­tra­tion over your drag­ging In­ter­net speed on your com­puter? You’re about to know why (and you aren’t the only one!).

Ookla®, the com­pany be­hind Speedtest®, has ranked Mum­bai as the low­est among the four big met­ros — the city has an over­all rank­ing of 8 with its fixed broad­band speed av­er­ag­ing 12.06 mbps.

City (re­port) card

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port ‘In­dia’s Dig­i­tal Di­vide: How Broad­band Speed Splits the Na­tion’, Mum­bai had a mean down­load speed of 17.10 mbps and a mean up­load speed of 12.06 mbps. Thane fares bet­ter than Mum­bai at #7 with a mean down­load speed of 17.43 mbps and a mean up­load speed of 13.60 mbps.

As per the re­port, Chen­nai is nu­mero uno with the high­est fixed broad­band speed among In­dia's 20 largest cities — its down­load speed over 32.67 mbps for fixed broad­band is 57.7 per cent faster than the rest of the coun­try’s av­er­age. Be­sides Chen­nai, fixed broad­band speeds of other met­ros Delhi, Ben­galuru, Hy­der­abad and Visakha­p­at­nam also scored higher than the coun­try’s av­er­age of 20.72 mbps. Ben­galuru, which fol­lows Chen­nai, re­ported av­er­age speeds of 27.2 mbps, while Delhi ranked 5th with av­er­age speeds of 18.16 mbps.

Patna was deemed the slow­est city with speeds av­er­ag­ing 62.4 per cent slower than the coun­try’s av­er­age. Also, down­load speeds in Kan­pur, Luc­know, Pune and Nag­pur are sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the same of their re­spec­tive states.

How states fared

Res­i­dents of Kar­nataka en­joy the fastest speeds in In­dia, with a mean down­load speed of 28.46 mbps dur­ing Fe­bru­ary 2018, which is 37.4 per cent faster than the rest of the coun­try. Tamil Nadu is a close sec­ond at 27.94 mbps.

Mi­zo­ram was the slow­est with a mean down­load speed of 3.62 mbps in Fe­bru­ary, which is 82.5 per cent slower than the rest of In­dia.

As of Fe­bru­ary 2018, In­dia ranks 67th in the world in terms of down­load speed over fixed broad­band based on the Speedtest Global In­dex with an av­er­age speed of 20.72 mbps.

Chintan Updhayay is on trial for the mur­der of his wife and fel­low artist Hema; (right) Sudeb Pal’s work ti­tled Im­par­manance; (be­low) The Process of De­cay, a 2x5 ft graf­fiti panel com­pris­ing 10 smaller can­vases painted by Chintan in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the 9 un­der­tri­als

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