THESE are bewildering times that our civilisation is attending to and undergoing. We the people have a job in hand in adapting ourselves with this grave situation, shielding one and all thus trying to protect the society from this deadly Virus and assuring the durability of our existence. In order to defend ourselves we have been introduced to various “protective gears” which are steadily becoming a part of our journey of life. These elements speculatively are helping us to stay alive and breathing giving us prospects of being safe and secured from the paradox we call, the COVID-19.
The Face Mask is one such gear which has become a constant companion in human being’s struggle for existence, a part of our daily routine, apparelling and soon enough it may also find a place in our fashion books. It’s not an option to accept this entity as our Friend for Life but an obvious prerequisite for the well being of our existence which cannot be ignored, I suppose.
On a different doctrine and dogma this entire occurrence of the sudden intruding of COVID 19 in our lives and settling down with ease and comfort may have been a bone; a blessing in disguise for human beings and the society as it undoubtedly has compelled us to evaluate, introspect and realize our ways of seeing and defining life along with our philosophical search and outlook towards life, appraising the discrete threads of inequalities which intensely exists in our Society. It has given us a scope to reignite and reassess our various senses gifting us with that window of opportunity to re construct the demeanour and characters of our practical, social, political and intellectual thought spaces.
The reasoning behind the usage of the protective gears in this case the FACE MASK may turn out to be subjective. The perspective may vary from person to person.
These understandings have markedly infiltrated both on a psychological and practical level for me. My ways and process of conceptualising and conceiving a Visual Arts exhibition and constructing the same has coincided well and encouraged me to take this up as a fitting affair for creating a dialogue and discourse in the Visual language with help of the various dialects of practices of different Visual Artists. It may turn out to be an exotic experience for us to identify how the concerned art practitioners employ the FACE MASK as a physical object in their works narrating in their preferred mediums of practices. To unearth how the FACE MASK transforms itself from a popular imagery into a metaphorical symbol of the current times when it gets nurtured in their metaphysical practice and associate itself in their works should really be captivating I believe.
Going by the subject of the show which I believe is popular in a way as it extensively talks about a social crisis and its possible effects on the present situation and future perspectives of our lives; our habits, pattern of social behaviours, it was essential to mount and manifest this exhibition on a platform and territory which is much larger than the conventional gallery space which do has certain limitations. It was precise and definite and I realized that the intention and relevancy of this exhibition will only be ascertained and intensified when it gets cultivated and negotiated by an undefined and unbiased audience and Internet with its virtual platforms turned out to be the best option to opt for. I believe it would be a nice induction of sharing and showcasing art on Social Media and Public domains, developing a much diverse landscape of viewers, building a community of audience around the globe who may not be previously exposed to art exhibitions or who haven’t yet comprehended art as an independent language of communication. To open up spaces for this considerable population by opting methods of insisting them to be a part of the Visual Arts scenario provoking their cultural psyche is necessary and the call of the hour I emphasize.
This exhibition thus does not intend only to address the so called ‘art audience’ with intellectual thoughts and ideas which may be delusional; metamorphose into a visual spectacle which would woo us with its omnipresence rather it endeavours in creating sustainable dialogues regarding our existential reality and initiates to be that similitude image of the current times and practical state which we are endorsing and living in along with hallucinating of a new normal which current trend suggests.
Ayan Mukherjee is the conceptualiser and curator of the show.