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Eye


 

 

In Search of Gandhi Exhibition at Theertha Red Dot Gallery
By Shabna Cader
He lived enveloped in simplicity for the most part of his life and was known to have rarely raised his voice in anger or adversity. His beliefs, teachings and mannerisms gradually became the platform to ‘righteous’ living and practice during his struggle and non-violent fight for India’s independence. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pioneer of Satyagraha, a philosophy firmly founded on non-violence. It is not an unknown factor that it was his tremendous efforts that ultimately led to the independence of his motherland.

‘In Search of Gandhi’ seems like a very apt theme, or rather title for an exhibition especially when it’s been over 60 years since the independence of India and his death. Do we remember him today? Has the world learnt anything from his teachings? Do people yet continue his practices and beliefs? In the context of what questions arise, searching for Gandhi is very current and much needed in today’s world. The works are that of Bawani G. S and Gururaj S. H.

A postcard is stamped on one wall at the Theertha Red Dot Gallery; there is nothing but an eye on it. Watchful indeed; disappointed maybe. Another painting across the gallery is that of all Gandhi’s belongings. Neatly laid on a loin cloth stands a clock, pair of spectacles, spinning wheel, a candle and water bowl. Beyond the table, on the wall is a picture of this silent freedom-fighter. Like most of his practices and philosophy, the belongings are left untouched. The candle stands by itself, but it isn’t burning anymore; there is no light. A very lonesome feeling erupts; there was a man who struggled for most of his life to bring down a tyrant state on non-violent terms and free his country from their grasp and oppression when the same situation is occurring in many parts of the world today, we seem to have forgotten his philosophy almost completely.

Another black and white photograph captures modern day India on the day of felicitating independence. The only add-on is the picture of a man dressed like Gandhi walking across the street. Why is it that we do not see a man or rather men of the same stature today? This question does not imply that men dress themselves in hand-woven cotton cloth and walk around, but provokes the idea and sense of thought that men do not think, behave and act like Gandhi anymore.

Headless, mindless and hopeless is what the next painting implies. It’s a painting for slightly miniature figures, headless as said, on two separate blocks of land, walking mindlessly across a thin branch. One headless figure sits on the right side of the land, yet again mindless. The sight of these headless figures, mindlessly walking to and fro arouses a sense of hopelessness. There’s no ideology, no profound moments, just dull colour, noir (black) and empty space. Are the minds of people like this today? Where has the ‘Gandhi’ in everyone gone? And so the search continues…

The Theertha Red Dot Gallery is located at No, 36 A, Baddegana Road South, Pitta Kotte.