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Indian artists document lockdown in online exhibition

Check out a snapshot of pandemic times in the exhibition 'The Spirit Remains Unlocked'. SIDDHI JAIN reports

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A remote arts residency in India that began on the first day of the nationwide lockdown, featuring 30 artists confined in homes and studios in a multitude of locations, has culminated in an extensive online exhibition ‘The Spirit Remains Unlocked.’

The exhibit presents unique vignettes of artists’ experiences of these unprecedented times we face.

With temporary closure of exhibition spaces and a COVID-19 downturn faced by artists as the backdrop, the online exhibition had artists who were forced to focus on what they do best – create art. A celebration of the resilience and unrestrained creative spirit of artists, the exhibition is curated and conceived by art curator, consultant and founder of The Art Route, Lubna Sen. The exhibition and a virtual gallery tour can be accessed on theartroute.com until August 15.

On-view lockdown art an ode to artists’ resilient spirits.

On view is ‘Imperceptible Warriors’ by Venkatesh Sabbaravapu – it captures the plight of migrant labourers who lost their livelihood in the cities and were forced to walk back to their villages.

Nitasha Jaini’s ‘Lockdown Drawing’ series touches upon domestic violence inflicted upon victims forced to co-exist with their tormentors under the same roof.

On-view lockdown art an ode to artists’ resilient spirits.

Rahul Swami’s digital art, ‘Finding a Better You’ expresses how this time led us to discover better versions of ourselves.

Giving out hope, a photograph by Vijay Singh, of a young woman peering out from indoors is aptly titled, ‘Window of Hope’.

On-view lockdown art an ode to artists’ resilient spirits.

In Kanika Singh’s mosaic installation, ‘Filling in the Blues with Sunshine’, the need for human warmth comes alive in sunflowers turning towards each other to compensate for the lack of sunshine.

Lubna Sen says the exhibition is a step into a new recalibrated world going increasingly digital.

“We are going through an unprecedented time in our lives,” she shares. “The Covid-19 pandemic will also have a far-reaching effect on the economy and the art world will be of no exception. The immediate cascading effect of this downturn is already being faced by the artists. With all major physical events coming to a pause, artists are losing opportunity to showcase and promote their works, something which is vital for their survival.”

She adds, “From this remotely-organised online art residency project emerged a visual documentation of a historic event. This snapshot of history was captured by this eclectic group of artists who reacted and responded to the unfolding events, and eventually evolved personally from the experience.”

Ready to showcase to the world what ‘unlocked spirits’ can do, ‘The Spirit Remains Unlocked’ is an not-to-be-missed opportunity to feel one with the artists and the larger humankind, and relive in their depictions your own multi-faceted experiences of braving the lockdown.

In the spirit of giving back to society, The Art Route is collaborating with Save the Children Foundation and will donate 25 percent of the proceeds of sale of artworks from the exhibition to it.

READ ALSO: Indian artist Nin Taneja spends lockdown in Australia painting native birds

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