We live in the times of injustice of all kinds. Climate change, species extinction, gender inequality, war, barbaric crimes; one look at the news and it would seem like the world is indeed coming to an end. While governments debate and citizens complain, there are those who are letting their work do the talking to positively influence mindsets. We take a look at three Indian artists who are making an impact through art.
1) Baadal Nanjundaswamy – street artist
There is one death every four minutes due to a road accident in India. (National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Road Transport & Highway, Law Commission of India, Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013)
According to the Road Accident Report, 2014 published by the Road Transport and Highways ministry, while 4,726 lives were lost in crashes due to unscientific humps, 6,672 people died in accidents caused due to potholes and speed breakers. The actual figures may be much higher.
While most of us tread the roads cautiously to avoid potholes and dangerous crevices, there is one man who is silently bringing every pothole to the notice of civic authorities in Bengaluru and Mysuru. Painter Baadal Nanjundaswamy works as an art director for Kannada films, plays, documentaries, and also does design work for independent projects. But what he is most popular for is his street art. From installing a crocodile figure inside a pothole in the middle of a busy road, and making gold bars out of misaligned dividers with ‘BBMP’ (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the government body) written on each of them, to painting Yama’s face on an open pothole, his work has taken both the civic authorities and social media by storm!
2) Shilo Shiv Suleman – contemporary artist
The Nirbhaya tragedy brought India to a standstill. People thronged the streets in protest and there was an uproar. Contemporary artist Shilo Shiv Suleman happened to be in Delhi at the India Gate during the protests, after which she shared every article that flooded the Internet. She sensed a general sense of fear among the people after the incident and realised the need for more women to get out on the streets and reclaim their right to public spaces and equality. Hence was born The Fearless Collective. What started as one poster she made and put up on Facebook that reaffirmed fearlessness turned into a campaign that went viral online, with thousands of shares and an overwhelming response from different artists from across the country, who sent in hundreds of beautiful posters. Today, The Fearless Women gives woman world over a platform to express uninhibitedly through art.
3) Sudarshan Patnaik – sand artist
The pristine beaches of Puri have more than just scenic beauty to boast of. Home to artist extraordinaire Sudarshan Patnaik, who was conferred with the Padma Shri in 2014 for his contribution in sand arts, the beaches are a canvas for his world-renowned sculptures. He started sculpting images on sand at the age of seven and has designed hundreds of award-winning sand art worldwide. He has also established ‘The Golden Sand Art Institute’ a first-of-its-kind in India. His works include thought-provoking sculptures on environmental crisis, famous festivals, national integrity and religious tolerance.
The next time you want to show your support or protest against something you don’t approve of, perhaps you could let your creativity do the talking. Drop the violence, pick a pen or a mic or a brush instead, because art and talent can not only please the eye, but can bring about change too.