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.”
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