of forgotten agonies
by Seema Choradia
and us' by C K Purandare
social ill has a sure shot remedy. If that were
the case, we might have seen a problem occurring
only once in the world. Still, we persist in
our search. Even if no one has solutions we try
to unravel the problems to the best of our abilities.
Chandrashekhar Purandare has highlighted such
social pathology through his paintings.
comes from Pune, an engineer, now settled in
Scotland. This is his first exhibition in India.
He has displayed about 50 paintings in Su-Darshan
paintings are a no-holds-barred candid commentary
on social ills. Futility of war, unfathomable
complications of human relationships, massacres
in the name of religion, diminishing social participation
of middle class, onslaught of the media, absolutely
miserable predicament of the downtrodden , and
the fragmentation of society due to these tensions – he
paints all these very ably. He has paintings
on the arrogance of the super-power in the context
of Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Equally effective
is his depiction of the senseless slaughters
under Jihad. These pictures tell us to reassess
the positions and the ideologies behind war.
Class has an important role to play in a society.
But this class is seen to be giving too much
importance to some beliefs and traditions and
turns a blind eye to really important issues.
E.g. once a woman becomes a mother, her life
is supposed to have achieved its pinnacle, she
is then taken to have fulfilled her social role
to the fullest. This is made into a great emotional
issue. Actually motherhood is just a biological
fact. Even animals do it. Some of Purandare’s
paintings are aimed against this narrow-mindedness
of the middle class.
to Purandare, his paintings are not an expression
of beauty but a means of communication. And many
of his paintings indeed talk to us. An old woman
exercising her right to vote is one such painting.
You can see the stark desolation behind the web
of crinkles on her face. It is a very beautiful
of the paintings in the exhibition are depressing.
However, ‘Speak Memory’ based on
Vladimir Nabokov’s book is an exception.
So too ‘The Show must go on’ where
a small boy is defeating the grandfather in a
game of chess in a light mood. These are quite
speaking each painting in the exhibition deserves
a full article. This exhibition makes you look
inward, prods to introspect and also makes you
socially aware. This kaleidoscope of forgotten
agonies is, without doubt, intellectually an
immensely enriching experience.
review of the exhibition appeared in Dainik
Prabhat, a marathi daily in Pune on Dec 30,