NEW DELHI: She had the daunting task of making dilwalon ke Dilli, an abode of happy-go-lucky, large hearted people, her own. But her heart threw a tantrum every time she tried to accept it.
“How could the adage be true,” she asked herself, considering her experiences of Delhi were entrenched in loneliness and isolation, not in happiness and largesse. It drove Geetika Arora to probe its various meanings. Interfaces of Being, an exhibition that she’s presenting as a curator, is a quest to underline the different interpretations of Delhi based on the million interfaces seeped in personal understanding.
The enormity of Delhi felt overwhelming for her at first. As she walked through the crowded bazaars bustling with people and through the closed air conditioned boxes of the metro with overpowering smells of sweat and dirt, the banality of life stared her in the face. “While Baroda, where I was settled before, offered comfort and solitude, Delhi came with an an overwhelming sense of anonymity and struggle. Questions like who is an artist? Who is the art for? Should an artist depend on art to pay the bills? Family, marriage, academia, state, corporations—all institutions that clutch the artist in one way or the other, jumped at me in their nakedest glory,” she recalls. That's when she started working on an exhibition that would bring forth different viewpoints and present the result of various interfaces.
Artists namely Anuj Tyagi, Arjun Sara, Gagan Singh, GSJ, Gurvinder Singh and Krupa Desai, have lent their imaginations, aspirations, thoughts and communication to their body of work.
“The work builds dialogues between the actual experience, its memory and its representation as it offers a million interfaces. These manifest themselves to us depending on who we are, where we come from, where our parents come from, where we want to go, and how we see life, what we do etc. It is about what the city probes and stimulates in each artist and where the city stands in this large web of interfaces through which one interacts,” says Arora.
Dilli Darshan is a work by Krupa Desai and Anuj Tyagi that tries to imitate life situations of migrants who came and settled in Delhi post 1947. Spoken narratives on the subject to bring out the chaos and arbitrariness of the times. “It shows portrays how random events, decisions, coincidences, malicious rumours, spontaneous acts of kindness or vile of its residents, stories and more stories that layered facts too neatly to be distinguishable from one another, played a role in defining the contours of socio economic and urban landscape of today’s Delhi.
Hum Hue Tum Hue Meer Hue is a work that got inspired from the poetry of Mir Taqi Mir of Mughal Delhi. It seeks to question the traditional boundaries between the ‘active’ artist and the ‘passive’ audience, and can be considered an experiment towards surpassing such boundaries. “The digital prints of Arjun Sara, who is an architect, displays a body of works that looks at spaces and structures in Delhi and puts them in the context of his experience of that space,” Arora tells us. The others are similarly intriguing.
For Arora, the experience of putting together this show has been cathartic. It has provoked a memories of the incessant haggling with autowallahs, the hostile traffic, the hyper masculine nature of the city, all contrasted with the quiet of ruins, the beauty of the monuments and amazing food. “Delhi offers a multitude of provocations. The ones you choose to address or ignore, come to define you,” she says. With that, Delhi remains alive to ambiguity through which it evolves new meaning.
Interfaces of Being
On view till:
Time: 11 am to 7 pm
Venue: Korean Cultural Centre, 25 A, Lajpat Nagar IV