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December 05, 2015

Explore Shades of Black With Subhakar Tadi

Text by Tanisha Choudhury

The artist and printmaker’s monochromes explore the meaninglessness of urban development

(Click on any image to view in gallery)

In the rapidly shifting urban jungles that we inhabit, what does development even mean? How much of it is harmful? Subhakar Tadi’s new show The Black Dimension, which is an extension of his earlier graffiti-oriented series, presents his views on the matter. The artist has created monochromatic works in which the canvas or existing photographs have been partially covered in black using acrylic spray paint. In this series of works ‘black is the colour and also the medium.’

As the artist explains, ‘I have always been curious to explore the dark and the grey areas of life through my work. Having been trained as a print maker it added to my curiosity to search the different hues within the colour black.’ Here black is used as a symbol of protest against the meaningless constructions that are created in the name of urbanisation.  The ‘wall’ is a symbol of democratic, free expression, especially of the political variety and of that which can’t be censored. The works also have a touch of humour and the surreal, presenting a distorted version of reality.

5 Questions with the artist, Subhakar Tadi

  1. Artistic Motivations “Censorship of ideas. The society and authorities do not appreciate different viewpoints and try to suppress it with force. It’s at these times that we find the varied expressions of different people coming out in unimaginable forms. For me this is primarily the motivation. By representing graffiti in my paintings, I can speak my views as an individual through those images. My institute and lot of artists and teachers have also motivated me. It’s with their support that I could take up this challenge.”
  2. Inspirations “As an artist I am primarily inspired by life around me. I have always been intrigued by the different ways people articulate their thoughts in different forms. I believe that’s what art is – from the small child who babbles and doodles to the political graffiti on public walls. I am also inspired by a lot of artists from India and abroad. They inspire me for various reasons. It’s hard to pinpoint and say exactly why…”
  3. On the wall at home “Apart from prints of some masters, the walls of my house are filled with graffiti and paintings made by my daughter Kashvi. It’s really surprising and wonderful to see children putting down their thoughts on any surface. I tried to incorporate her drawings into my paintings and create a sense of play along with a critique.”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your art “I represent the world around me, the world I belong to and the world I understand. It might be anything from mindless development, unemployment, my desires, and humorous writing to love stories, protest texts and children’s drawings. For me, my canvas is a surface to bring together different realities. What happens there is a completely different story. Those realities might accept each other, negate each other or complement each other like for example, black and white.”
  5. If not an artist, you would be… “If I were not an artist I would’ve wanted to become an actor.”

The Black Dimension is on display at Art District XIII, New Delhi (F- 2 13C, Ground Floor, Lado Sarai) until December 12, 2015.

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