Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pradosh Swain has attempted global issues in simplest and readable visual term.

Any work of art for that matter has certain ideas to deliver, but this seems to have engaged the viewer with more than one implication. Initially aimed at presenting the environmental issue, that is one of the phenomena, quite clearly depicted by many artists of the present day. It is uniformly received by the politicians, sociologists, scientists and artists as well. ‘The habitation in nature’ an exhibition showing Pradosh Swain’s recent works at Ashok Art Gallery.

Concrete Demon illustrates a typical and unusual scene, amazing and interesting too. The manuscript unfolds to release Lord Rama with his attributes, bow and arrow, to kill the concrete mixture that is commonly seen at the construction sites. It has several layers of implication: dwelling between tradition and modern, oppression and liberty, nature and environmental hazard, mobility and stillness and so on. It presents a feeling of awareness and concern.

Rama, the maryada purusha, as he is commonly known and we believe had a genuine understanding of nature as he lived his significant part of life within nature, interacting with various aspects and adopting several laws of natural world. He is seen liberating the self to take on the direct fight once again with the demonic form (concrete mixture = Ravana) to bring back peace to the mankind unaware of the fact that in this corrupt world, what wins is not the environment but the brokers of nature, while the sufferer is entire world.

In the present day, Rama has become the source of inspiration to many; politically, environmentally, culturally, as people have conveniently adopted him. Now he has been reduced to a manuscript as an abode, cultivating the nature within the parameters of palm leaf. A simple narration that recreates the Rama in Odissi Pata painting form and symbolically covering him with the foliage, to relate nature in him; palm leaf as a major and popular medium in Orissan traditional art is placed intelligently to show the manuscript and a horrifying background depicting the uncertainty of human life. The composition is poised with intellectual input and social awareness.

The world is changing and also the attitude of man. Travel is part of human being’s life. With every passing day more and more information regarding the destinations are reaching us motivating us to explore the new area of substance. Reasons of such moves are many, ranging form family holidays to corporate leisure. Many natural sites are revisited and new sites introduced to us. We move from place to place encroaching the nature’s domain and without even being careful. Often we ignorantly spoil the nature and sometimes become more adventurous in misusing the resources. This has resulted in the natural devastation and we can feel the heat of global warming all through the globe. We have started paying the price for someone else’s fault. Towards Wind seems to present before us the nature that is supposed to nurture us, our lives and motivate our minds, inspire us to face new challenges, has now started throwing new challenges to us pointing its protection and expecting a little compassion and love for itself. We have reached a pitiable condition, where no road leads ahead.

A time would arrive when we would need a fan painted with nature (allegorical) in a hill top (station) to satisfy us from heat. The extent, as the artist has pointed, might go up to reaching near to the fan blades to occupy the most of air the fan delivers. The message is clear and loud, save it (nature) to be a part of it or stay alone to die hard.

The cities are now developing fast and at a disagreeable pace. The requirement of man is getting wider day by day. To achieve these desires one makes compromises with the nature, its habitants and the balance. We have significantly converted the animal’s bay purposefully to suit our ideals. So every other day we hear news about tiger creeping in to village and start shouting about the facing new danger. Rationally we have threatened their habitation in nature. The spread of the cities never care about the essential ‘other’. Fisher in Metro is just about that. In the image showing the kingfisher (namesake) sitting on a basket ball net (replacing the tree branches) and concentrating on a swimming pool (replacing the village pond), which is temporarily set on a spatula (showing its position), while a young woman is diving into the pool. This visual narrates the reality; of how the cities are facing structural conversion everyday, the danger of scarcity facing us today and its horrifying future and similar struggle.

Pradosh Swain has attempted global issues in simplest and readable visual term. What interests me is his concern about nature and its protection in order to avoid the Global Warming. ‘The message is not new’, as he explains, ‘and it is not educating too. I just paint to define my understanding of the subject’. He adds, ‘much has been spoken and delivered visually by the NGOs and similar volunteer organisations to mass through electronic and print media. But artist has his own creative view point that sometimes visualises the imagined future’. Let us not make big promises that are difficult to keep but small acts that are easy to follow in order to upkeep our environment. Is someone practising! Pradosh Swain works and live in Delhi, India.

Dr. P. K. Mishra (Art Historian)
Presently Serving as Associate Professor, BHU

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