The Sunday Guardian
Khoj residency that taught young artists to explore their desires
Khoj studio in Khirki Extension is abuzz with activity nowadays, as a group of young graduates create artwork in the studio under the Peers 2011 programme. Initiated in 2003, with support from the India Foundation for the Arts, this annual residency programme by Khoj Studios gives recent art graduates a platform to showcase their talent.
This year’s participants include, NIFT graduate from Manipur Kundo Yumnam, Chennai-based Aarti Sunder, Maripelly Praveen Goud from Baroda, Muthiah Kasi from Coimbatore and Aparna Singh, a graduate from Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan. The 23-year-old will design a catalogue and compose a critical essay on the artworks on her blog.
We find Pallavi Singh instructing a few workers on how to hoist her work on the black walls. Lying on one side is a green acrylic sheet which is a photographic negative revealing the face of a man with four women. He is wearing heart-shaped glasses. On the other side of the room, are paintings of the man with his family.
“My artworks represent the desires, sexual thoughts and dilemmas of this 40-plus man. The negative reveals his true self. But since the society expects him to be married and have a family, the painting shows him as a happily married man with children,” says Singh.
Manipur’s Yumnam is 28 and has studied Arts in Singapore. She has created a huge wooden box called Pandora’s Box, with a line that says, ‘Open at your own discretion’. This work delves into the subject of curiosity and censorship. “ Pandora’s Box justifies censorship. This box could be intimidating and some people may hesitate to open it. But the curious others may wonder what is inside it and open the box. Inside, lies a secret, which I will be disclosed only during the show,” says Yumnam.
Muthiah Kasi, a communications designer from DJ Academy of Design, Coimbatore, is busy carving wood blocks shaped in the form of asymmetrical bottles in his room which smells of paint and thinner.
“My work is called Fairy Tale Expiry. It depicts monotonous life and dreams. Inside these sealed bottles, I will paint dreams. It depicts how we bottle up our dreams and keep them away. This painted tunnel has a small door at the end which leads us to our dreams, but it keeps going further and further away from us,” says Kasi, adding, “fairy tales also have an expiry date.”
Maripelly Praveen Goud, 25, has studied Arts from Baroda. He has made a huge installation that resembles a landscape with crushed grid paper. He has created a spider web on it, using Fevicol. “While I was crushing these papers, I was releasing my pent up emotions. Sometimes, I quite enjoyed it,” says Goud.
Aarti Sunder’s hands and white tee are covered with green paint. A student of Rachana Sansad in Mumbai, Sunder’s work is site specific as she tries to correlate the white walls of the studio with all her drawings. “The installation is that of a man waiting against the wall.”
The works are not for sale, but each artist will get a stipend of Rs 18,000. For four weeks, all of them will live and work together.