An exhibition, Lockdown Diaries, which opened at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh’s 54th Foundation Day, draws from the experiences of the artists during the period of pandemic. Eighty artistes and their drawings talk about the tough time that humans went through.
“This project brought our small community at Kaladham together, reverse of what the virus wanted to do,” says renowned visual artist Anita Dube. The idea of a serigraphy workshop in times of the pandemic was conceptualised at Kaladham Artists’ Studios, Greater Noida, by a small group of artists, Tejinder Kanda, Prashant Kalita, Avinash Aggarwal and Dattatreya Apte, as a tribute to artist Ravinder Verma.
“In the initial stage of pandemic, we worked together with masks up,” says Dube. He gave the introduction and there was a lecture presentation by eminent printmakers Dattatraya Apte and Ananda Moy Banerji. Held from November 17 to 19, 2020, as 80 artists’ work are part of the exhibition. Some of the notable artists whose works one can see are Ranbir Kaleka, Anita Dube, Arpana Caur, Ved Nayar, Prem Singh, Rajeev Lochan, Ravinder Reddy, Jai Zharotia, Gogi Saroj Pal, Shail Choyal and Viren Tanwar.
“The exhibition will give a unique opportunity to people of Chandigarh to witness the complete output of the workshop and to interact with some of the acclaimed artists whose works are on display,” says Vishal Bhatnagar, exhibition curator at Government Museum and Art Gallery. He sees the period of the pandemic as both a bliss and a curse. The former as the lockdown gave time to complete pending work, curse because locked at home away from his workshop and materials, he struggled.
Amongst the works displayed, there is a glimpse of the times in the pandemic like in Nidhi Agarwal’s The Mask Dance and Dattatreya Apte’s Reflections. Shiven Tanwar’s Oh Jesus and Tejinder Kanda’s The Journey Goes On bear the stamp of the modern times. Uday Mondal’s Coco brings a smile to the face, as a dog and its owner walk together. Anita Dube’s Freedom Song, Arpana Caur’s Farwell Friend, Prem Singh Weeping Willow and Paramjeet Singh’s She has its share of viewers, engrossed in decoding their visual entries. Sadly, for artists like Jai Zharotia and Aditi Chakravarty, it was their last entry in the diary.
(On at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, till May 20, 2022; Monday closed)