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Through art and poetry this digital exhibit captures lockdown and its many aspects

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The lockdown and its companion, isolation, imply various things to completely different folks.

For creatives, this state of affairs has triggered responses that change throughout genres, very similar to any disaster in historical past. Artistic language has seen a sluggish shift to a vocabulary that has by no means existed earlier than: Held — The Lockdown in Words and Images is one such compendium introduced by Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai, that captures the ‘new normal’ via an amalgam of art and poetry.

five windows, a photo poetry series by Parvathi Nayar

5 home windows, a photograph poetry sequence by Parvathi Nayar
| Photo Credit:
Parvathi Nayar

The digital exhibit, uploaded in 4 installments, presents an fascinating marriage of genres that encapsulate the responses of 4 artistes: visible artist and poet Aannya Dasgupta, poet Geetanjali Rajan, visible artist and poet Parvathi Nayar and poet Ok Srilata. Comprising poemages, photopoetry, photograph art and phrases, the continuing undertaking depends closely on collaboration.

The first bout of the nation-wide lockdown was a “shock” for the artists.

Though the primary few days had been spent grappling with the altering state of affairs, Paravathi Nayar says, “Later, I was literally found lingering near windows and looking out; becoming conscious of this position of being on a threshold, a windowsill of time.”

Through the window, she may see the playground, as soon as crammed with youngsters’s laughter, was now empty: “The playground seemed like a large sundial, marking the moving time. And, I started taking photographs.” Her photograph poem, 5 home windows, took type then; this was additionally the seed of the collaboration.

Eleven Questions, a poemage by K Srilata and Anannya Dasgupta

Eleven Questions, a poemage by Ok Srilata and Anannya Dasgupta
| Photo Credit:
Anannya Dasgupta

Just forward of the lockdown, Srilata went on a birdwatching journey close to Kelambakkam. She recollects the flock of migratory birds that visited the marshes: “Everything seemed so normal. It painted a picture that said, ‘everything’s going to be okay with this world!’. For me, the shift was very dramatic.” Her poem Our Days Would Catch on the Cruellest Thorns encapsulates the response to an unfathomable shift. Her poem reads,

“…we didn’t know it then,

that the birds would find their way home

that seasons would proceed as they were meant to

But our days, our days would catch on the cruellest thorns.”

Shift in perspective

Anannya Dasgupta’s photograph art sequence, Lockdown Vocabulary, has pictures coupled with phrases related to the occasions. For occasion, beneath the title A to Z of PPE is the picture of a masks merged with inscriptions on silver pill strips. Geetanjali, who writes within the custom of Japanese haikai, displays on fleeting moments. Her poems are “reminders of the transience of everything”. The first haiga within the sequence got here from observing a furrow on a mom’s brow that was not there earlier, she writes.

Geethanjali Rajan’s ‘haiga’

The medium is what aided the collaboration. “Geetanjali and I are primarily people who work with words, whereas Anannya and Parvathi have worked with both words and images. In the process, I was able to reflect on what happens to a poem when it’s set to an image. Annanya spent days and nights working on each of the poems, reading and understanding them closely and setting them to images,” says the poet. Anannya additionally helped meld images for Geetanjali’s haikai: the format captures the shift in perspective as time goes by.

Parvathi says, “The lockdown has a sense of dilated time, so we are looking to upload the work in four installments. The next set (around mid-August) would be our next set of responses.” Though there are plans to present the gathering a bodily type, she says, by what means, remains to be unsure owing to the occasions.

Held — The Lockdown in Words and Images could be digitally considered on https://projectheld.in/


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