It’s been 69 years to the day since Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the tricolour over Delhi’s Red Fort. And what a colourful time it’s been. From the tragedy of the Mahatma’s death to the launch of the Ambassador car, the release of Mughal-e-Azam, the enforced vasectomies of the 70s, the entry of McDonalds in India, the Bhopal gas tragedy, Y2K and Kargil – these political, social and cultural events have all shaped our nation’s history. They have also been stylishly illustrated in a special retrospective organised by Animal, a Delhi-based creative agency.
Curated under the title Indianama, the exhibition tells the story of India one artwork at a time.
We spoke to Kunel Gaur, creative director at Animal, about the project. Below are edited excerpts.
How and why was Indianama conceived?
Everything that has been written about [Indian] history is linear, straightforward and textbook-ish. Art allows us to be vague, have a point of view or be slightly frivolous while showing a different context to a moment in history that we all have heard or read about.
I see Indianama as an artistic documentation of the years after independence – it’s a visual journey, seen through the eyes of 69 Indian artists. We’ve picked so many artists because it’s been 69 years, so we have an equal number of points of view of looking at the same history.
“On the 20th of September, 2004, India launched a satellite called EDUSAT, meant solely to serve the educational sector.” – Rujuta Mali, clay illustration artist
How did you go about planning the event?
We called for a submission of portfolios, which we looked at to decide and confirm artists we thought would fit a particular year. They all have their own styles and the concepts they shared with us for their chosen year helped us decode what they could come up with.
Half of all proceeds from the sale of artworks will go towards educating and improving the living conditions of kids from Karm Marg, a children’s home. We wanted to connect our project in a way where the past empowers the future.
“Union Carbide agrees to pay USD $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal Disaster.” -Mayur Mengle, art director
What kind of work can people expect to see?
In terms of artists, we’ve got painters, calligraphers, illustrators, graphic designers, street artists and even writers creating artworks representing their chosen year. We’ve got a lot of artworks with different opinions, a lot of emotion and a whole lot of education about the events that took place after independence, and their consequences.
“In 1996, McDonald’s opened it’s shop in India. The signature Big Mac beef burger was replaced on the menu by the Chicken Maharajah Mac to suit the indian market. The price, taste and value that McDonalds introduced became a hit. It revolutionised the fast food industry in India.” Reshidev RK, artist
A photo posted by Aditi Sharma (@aditiatwork) on
“I chose 1976, and have highlighted the forceful sterilization of men and women across India. This illustration speaks of Hawa Singh, a young widower from Pipli village who was sterilized against his will. Unfortunately, he died of an ensuing infection.” Aditi Sharma, senior visualiser, Que Magazine
Animal is a creative agency based in New Delhi and is run by Gaur and his partner Sharon Borgoyary. The Indianama exhibition and sale will be held on August 15, 2016 at KONA, #1 Jor Bagh Market, near Lodhi Road, Delhi.