Posts Tagged With: Bangalore

Back in Time by Andaleeb Wajid

Back in TimeTitle: Back in Time
Author: Andaleeb Wajid
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Pages: 168
ISBN: 9789384052935
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 4/5

Author Andaleeb Wajid is a consummate writer and she has time and again proven her knack in etching characters that have strong convictions, be it women who are tormented by inner conflicts, those who are not afraid of love or those who will go to any lengths to right a wrong. They are always charming, intelligent and resourceful. The book, Back in Time, the second in the Tamanna trilogy after No time for goodbyes, is no different. By telling the story of a strong female time-travelling protagonist, Wajid subtly touches upon human emotions like love, longing, belonging, anger by carefully weaving a delicate and pristine love story. The book is also a portrait of Bangalore of a long time ago, which earned the first book much critical acclaim.

Tamanna, who once again finds herself in the past, is now torn between her love for Manoj, a younger Suma’s neighbour, and her yearning to be back in the present, where her parents are going crazy with her state of unconsciousness. And to make matters worse, the camera, which would transport her back to the present, is stolen and hence, she is trapped indefinitely in the 80s. What happens during her stay in the 80s, how she comes back to the present and what happens to her love life — this forms the crux of the story.

I picked this book up at random; as I was awaiting a package of new books to arrive that evening, I wanted to read a book that would fill the gap in between. This book is a refreshingly fast read (I finished it in four hours with breaks) with a simple yet tightly-woven narrative. Though a Young Adult fiction, with time-travel at the core, it is a pleasant romance, which will leave you chuffed to bits, no matter how old you are.

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How to pour drinks with passion

How does a bartender become successful? Renowned mixologist Ondrej Pospichal says it has more to do with one’s personality than just the ability to mix potent drinks, underscoring the popular dictum among bartenders which is: ‘You are not creating drinks, you are serving people.’ “A good bartender is judged by the way he conducts himself behind the bar, on how he strikes a chord with his customer, on how he understands his pulse. Making fine drinks, I would say, is secondary,” he maintains. Visiting Bangalore as part of Grey Goose – Beyond the Bar programme, the master mixologist interacted with bartenders from different hotels in the city, teaching them not only how to concoct world-class cocktails, but also how to stand out in their profession.

ONDREJ POSPICHAL

The first thing that strikes him about the city is the enthusiasm and passion among the bartenders. He says, “The lot here is very gung-ho about their profession. And that is what is required. You have to love your job if you have to be good at it.” He adds that they were brimming with innovative concepts and ideas, which is sure to help them in their career.

Though well-travelled and having mastered his craft in some of the world’s most prominent bars, tailoring the programme to meet local requirements was very crucial to him, he recalls. When he first landed in India, he roamed the streets of New Delhi, soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of the place. Upon visiting Dilli Haat, he found an array of ingredients on sale there, some very unique to the Indian subcontinent. And inspired by this, he created his first signature drink in India, ‘New Dilli’ with a mix of local flavours — apple, celery, lemon and others.

His ‘Signature 7’, whipped up specially for the programme, also includes a blend of locally available ingredients like Ginger, Fenugreek, Coriander, Sea Salt, Coffee, and a variety of fresh herbs and spices, to make it truly India-inspired. “It was very important for me to bring a bit of Indianness to the whole initiative. Of course, I could have taught something from London. But I did not want to do that,” he says.

This head bartender of one of London’s most influential bars, MASH, doesn’t consider himself a molecular mixologist, given that his art of mixology includes non-esoteric techniques and fun, adventurous cocktails. So what’s his favourite trick to make the perfect drink? “Keep it simple,” he responds promptly, “Infuse layers of flavour and pay attention to the texture rather than the complexity and techniques of making a drink.“


First published in The New Indian Express on October 6, 2014

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Axwell /\ Ingrosso enthral audience with high-octane sounds

Axwell IngrossoAfter calling it quits, cohorts of the erstwhile trio Swedish House Mafia have come back as a team, Axwell /\ Ingrosso. Having debuted at the Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall’s Island in June, they recently wrapped up their gig in Bangalore at Sunburn Arena. At the concert, which was the first for the duo in India, they debuted new songs from an album due later this year like This time we can’t go home, Can’t hold us down, Sun is shining and so are you and On my Way. Their set also had a sprinkling of songs from Swedish House Mafia and from Alesso and Ghecko.

This album, for Universal Music Group’s Def Jam Recordings, is one of the firsts for the duo, as SHM never released an LP of their songs. Says Sebastian Ingrosso, “We’ve been working for almost a year on this album. But we are almost done. We are going to start releasing the singles soon and we are really excited for what’s coming.”

Despite riding a wave that popularised electronic dance music across the world, the brand of music they love to listen to is very different from what they produce and doesn’t always include progressive/house elements. “When it comes to listening to music, electronic music is very low on the list. Both of us listen to a lot of rock, hip-hop and folk. I listen to classical music sometimes,” Ingrosso confesses, to which Axwell adds, “We love listening to stuff we don’t normally get to hear in our line. Sometimes I go on to Spotify and just discover new music.”

A year since their last show in Bangalore for ‘One Last Tour’, this show rounded off their debut in style, as they enthralled the audience with high-octane sounds and a cacophony of pyrotechnics and SFX. How did it feel to be back in Bangalore? Ingrosso responds, “It was really really exciting. The weather is nice and here there’s a certain energy in the air. Last time, it was phenomenal but we didn’t know we would ever come back to India. But the feedback we got on social media for this tour is equally overwhelming; the excitement that we have come back to the city is great.”

Their gig at the Ultra Music Festival 2013 marked an end of an era in electronic dance music, as they parted ways to pursue their solo careers. Will they ever come back again as Swedish House Mafia? “No, that’s not we are thinking about right now,” informs Axwell.

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‘The word difficult doesn’t exist to me’

Shobhaa De

Writer and columnist Shobhaa De has nothing but praise for the literary environment in Bangalore. Having been part of Bangalore Literature Festival, the city’s uber event to celebrate the written word, De maintains that Bangalore has a very vibrant core, far removed from the IT tag it enjoys. “One thing that we cannot and should not lose sight of is the rich literary tradition that the state has always enjoyed over several hundred years. And Bangalore, in particular, being the hub of Karnataka, is a city which is way way beyond just a IT hub,” she states.

She notes that a literary festival here was overdue and she is glad that it is run by people who have genuine level of commitment and passion to provide a platform for diverse opinions, diverse points of view, debate, dissent and more. 

On freedom of expression

De has been quite vocal about issues plaguing the country, especially those concerning women. Yes, she admits that her writing has, time and again, drawn criticism from various quarters, but that doesn’t deter her. “The word difficult doesn’t exist to me. To tell the truth and to tell it fearlessly is every human being’s right. And we should take full advantage of being a part of a democracy, where our freedom, the constitution guarantees, will not be curtailed if there’s something worth fighting for.” Of course there will be people in the world who have more clout, who are more powerful, who want to harm you, she observes. But then again, that’s the test of your own character, of who you are, what you believe in. “Isn’t that the price worth paying?,” she asks emphatically.

On UR Ananthamurthy

This year, the festival commemorated UR Ananthamurthy, one of the exemplars of Kannada literature. De has her own experience to recount about the great storyteller. “We were on the panel at the last edition of Bangalore Lit Fest. And I like how fiery, feisty, articulate and unafraid he was in voicing his opinions. Not all of them were accepted, even by a very informed audience and crowd. Despite that, he was a giant as a thinker, as an iconic litterateur, who broke so many shackles, so many rules, freed so many people from their limited thinking and limited imagination.”

On writing

“I write every day of my life,” she declares, “I write for weekly columns, blogs, Twitter — writing on every level defines me and consumes me and that’s the way I want it to be always.” She is looking to start a new book soon. But she’s not sure what it will be about. “It’s only when an idea is about to explode inside my head and makes life unbearable for me, that I actually start the book. Because the idea has to be powerful enough for me to want to write it with that sense of passion and intensity.”

On the recent brouhaha on ‘ethical journalism’

Shobhaa De has gone on record, on her blog and on Twitter, about the recent spat between Deepika Padukone and a leading newspaper. Most of her comments stress that there is nothing wrong with sensational stories and the issue has been blown out of proportion by the actress who she once termed is “overrated and average-looking”. But when we asked her about it, she refused to comment, saying, “I write for the newspaper and I don’t have anything to say against them.”


An abridged version published in The New Indian Express on September 29, 2014

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Portraying The ‘Real’ Story of Dance

p3pic2Almost all of Roy Campbell-Moore’s photographs can be categorised as avant-garde. Sweaty dancers populate the images, in movement against a low-light background, resting after a strenuous dance practice or during the frenzy before the performances. Most are gritty and not what you would call ‘picture perfect.’ But that’s his aim — to showcase the alternative world of dance, not just the beautiful side, and illuminate the relationship the dancers have with the art form. He says, “I try to photograph from the inside of the art form and that’s why not all photographs are necessarily beautiful.”

Giving this idea a further boost, Roy embarked on a project The Beauty And The Grit over a year ago, identifying dance companies across Wales and India, along the way aiming to cultivate a more personal examination of the art form among photographers and dancers. After completing a residency at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi and working with dance company, The Danceworx there, he is now in Bangalore, for his show that will run till Friday at Vismaya Art Gallery, Rangoli Metro Art Center.

He has also completed a four-day workshop with the Stem Dance Kampni, engaging with 15 different photographers. “We created a new short piece of dance for the company. The photographers had to capture everything part of the making process, from day one to the final performance. After that we had a showing of the different works at the studio. To me, the photographs came across as very passionate, very aggressive. It was fantastic. Even the dance performance was very unusual for the dancers because they had to learn a new way of western dance. But they were very enthusiastic,” he says.

Roy’s tryst with Bangalore started when he collaborated with Madhu Nataraj of Stem Dance Kampni about five years ago and since then he has been travelling back and forth teaching residencies and conducting workshops. He recalls, “One particular experience is very close to my heart. Six months ago, we created a series of 18 monumental installations, about 5 foot 1 inch in size showing how dancers engage with different spaces, be it dance studios, stray buildings, office buildings, even a Banana field. These were very unusual settings, and it was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever done something like that in my life before.”

Roy has been photographing dance as a specialist for about 15 years after he stopped dancing. In fact, he was a ballet dancer for over 40 years and even founded the National Dance Company to promote arts back in Wales. But when he realised his love for photography, he stepped down from the role of an artistic director and even gave up dancing. He explains, “I happened to get into photography out of necessity. Back then, good photographers used to charge exorbitant fees. It was also expensive because we had to get them all the way down from London. So I thought I will try to do it myself, see how I can get on. After all, I knew the dancers better and I had a better understanding of the subject. So I bought the best camera I could get my hands on and started work. I studied hard for over three years and taught myself using tutorials. And then, it paid off.” And what does he consider the most rewarding aspect? He says it is the privilege of working with talented dancers and learning about them as people as well as subjects for his photography. But the main driving force is that it enables him to delve deeper into the art form.


First published in The New Indian Express on September 25, 2014

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Bad News Barrett wants his Intercontinental Championship title back

He is celebrated as the purveyor of ‘Bad News’, the powerhouse who has serenaded fans of WWE the world over with his “booms” amid punk rock music, his trash talk and his signature finishing move, The Bull Hammer Elbow. Now this superstar, Bad News Barrett is on an India tour and was recently in Bangalore too. The agenda? To promote wrestling in India, WWE and its various programmes like SmackDown and Raw.

Bad-News-BarrettDuring the WWE tour, which Bangalore has seen after two long years, Barrett even interacted with children from the NGO, The Open Door Foundation. Even as he reveals to us how their open-hearted enthusiasm and knowledge of WWE trivia floored him, he is quite kicked about how big WWE is in the country and how crazy and wild the fans are. He enthuses, “We have tons of fans here so it is a great opportunity to come out here and say hello to them. We always want to build our relationship with fans around the world and here in India especially, it has been a long time since we have been here. So we are all very excited to come out here again and let the people in India come and watch us perform. In fact, this is the kind of environment I would like to perform in. I have to say, the audience here in India for WWE is just going to grow.”

We ask him, after years of going back and forth, will WWE finally come to India? While he doesn’t confirm anything, this trip strongly suggests that the country will have its own Indian version soon, depending on TenSports India, which has just inked a deal with WWE till 2019. However, Barrett is quick to tell us that a special video game is on the cards, the worldwide release date of which is October 31. “It’s called WWE 2K15. I have played on the advance copy of it. It’s incredible actually, the realism, the graphics on this one is a huge step above what we have seen previously. They have brought in new calendars, monitoring systems to pick up all the minutiae about our faces and movements. It will be like watching TV,” he tells us animatedly.

Growing up in England, Barrett was trained in bare-knuckle brawls which was how he got into the wrestling arena. His rise to eminence was noted by all when he won the WWE NXT in the first season, setting the momentum for the championship. Recalling those early days, he opines, “NXT is completely different now than when I won it. Then, it was almost like a reality show. The winner became a WWE Superstar. Whereas now, it is a developmental system which has produced great talents like The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Bo Dallas and people like that, which is good. WWE universe is going to get access to these superstars of the future.” Occasionally some of them also come to him for advice, to learn about his talking ability, the way to woo the fans. But for the most part, he says, “They have great trainers down at Orlando who give them what they exactly need to know.”

It’s been a while since we have watched him on television, Barrett having been out of action after sustaining a shoulder injury during a match with Jack Swagger. What was disappointing even more than the injury was that he had to forfeit his Intercontinental Champion title. But he will return in November and he tells us, he will return with a vengeance. “I want my title back,” he exclaims and adds, “I don’t care who has the title, whether it is Dolph Ziggler, The Miz or anybody else. I will claim it back. And after that, I want to go to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.”

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Festival brings city stories

Last year, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) Bangalore held a film festival, Urban Lens: Festival of Films and the City. The three day festival showcased films that dealt with a multitude of political, social, economic and cultural concerns in an urban landscape. This year, the second edition of the festival will be held from September 26 to 28 bringing over 35 non-fiction films, again the leitmotif being urban mores. “The festival attempts to see how the idea of the city finds cinematic expression. We will be engaging with filmmakers to see how the city influences their films and vice versa,” informs Subasri Krishnan, who is in-charge of the general programming.

Of the 35 films from filmmakers in India, South Africa, Peru, Chile, Colombia and Canada, over 20 films speak on the urban theme, but not just the physical construct but the metaphysical quality of our surroundings. Subasri notes, “When we think of ‘urban,’ we immediately think of the ‘built’ form, often relating the term to the skyline of an urban metropolis. These films go beyond this concept.”

For instance, she points out films that give ‘urban’ a whole new dimension. She describes, “Gitanjali Rao’s animated ‘Printed Rainbow is about an old lady and her cat which evocatively speaks of the loneliness synonymous with the dreariness of city life. The questions raised in the political documentary ‘Kya Hua Is Shahar Ko?’ by Deepa Dhanraj still holds relevance today. Nishtha Jain’s ‘City of Photos explores photo studios in Indian cities. ‘Memory of a Light’ by Sandhya Kumar is a visual portrait of her childhood memories. Priya Sen’s ‘Noon Day Dispensary’ is shot in a resettlement colony and is an ironic depiction of a dispensary there. Then there are films by international makers such as ‘El Olvido’ which is about the city of  Lima and ‘My Winnipeg,’ a docu-fantasia set in the town of Winnipeg. So, the festival has a wide variety of films on view.”

Apart from this, a selection from the Films Division archive curated by film director and cinematographer, Avijit Mukul Kishore will be screened. Called ‘The Visual Grammar of Nation Building,’ these films made in the first three decades after independence reflect the aspirations of a young nation.

A special screening will be held on September 26 at 7 pm featuring Patricio Guzman’s 2010 documentary ‘Nostalgia for the Light’ based on life under dictator Augusto Pinochet. The 90 minute documentary narrated by Guzman, famed for his political documentaries capturing the history and politics of Chile, includes commentary from those affected by the dictator’s reign, from astronomers to Chilean women who search for dead bodies in the Atacama Desert. Poet and filmmaker Rajula Shah’s film, ‘Sabad Nirantar’ studying the life of the poet Kabir, will be screened on September 27 at 7 pm. Both the screenings will be followed by open house discussions.

On September 28 at 6.15 pm, a public talk will be held by Rohan Shivkumar, an architect and urban designer from Mumbai and the Deputy Director of the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies. His session titled ‘Producing Images, Consuming Images – The spaces of the film industry in Mumbai’, will add to the growing conversation of the nature in which the film industry engages with public spaces.

Though the film festival is in its nascent stage, Subasri hopes it will initiate a dialogue about public spaces, real and imagined.

Some of the films that will be showcased at Urban Lens 2014

Film: Kya Hua Is Shahar Ko?

Director: Deepa Dhanraj

Date and time: September 26 at 3.25 pm

Synopsis: A political documentary based on 1984 Hindu-Muslim riots in Hyderabad. The film, released in 1986, addresses issues of the omnipresent communal conflicts, marginalisation of the Muslims as the ‘other’ community, urban poverty and analyses power struggles in the political arena.

Kya Hua Is Shehar Ko


Film: Wasted

Director: Anirban Datta

Date and time: September 26 at 11.45 am

Synopsis: In the old agrarian system, there was nothing called as waste. But now, waste has become sort of a yardstick to measure development. With the country on its way to becoming an important player in the global economic development, so is the mountain of waste it produces becoming bigger. Combined with footages from Datta’s previous films, ‘Wasted’ examines the concept of waste and recycling in India through the eyes of an easterner with a western vocabulary.

Wasted


Film: Cities on Speed: Bogota Change

Director: Andreas Dalsgaard

Date and time: September 27 at 2 pm

Synopsis: The film studies how the city an explosion on the population living in urban areas can pose serious global challenges. Against this backdrop, it tells the story of two mayors Antanas Mockus and Enrique Penalosa who using unconventional methods create a peaceful city, Bogota.

Cities on Speed


Film: Dear Mandela

Director: Dara Kell

Date and time: September 27 at 12 noon

Synopsis: The film is shot against the landscape of poverty in South Africa and is a fascinating story of the country coming of age. Three ‘young lions’, when they learn of the Government’s plan to ‘eradicate the slums,’ rise from the shacks to take on the Government. But even as they challenge the Slums Act all the way to the Constitutional Court, they learn of the sacrifices that come with leadership.

Dear Mandela


Film: Tracing Bylanes

Director: Surabhi Sharma

Date and time: September 28 at 2.30 pm

Synopsis: ‘When does a city become a city?’ With this question in her mind, Surabhi Sharma went about chronicling the history, sights and sounds of the city of Chandigarh in ‘Tracing Bylanes.’ The 15 minute documentary tells the story of the city which was born out of Partition, and built by Le Corbusier and how after 60 years, it struggles to retain its iconic character.


Tracing Bylanes


First published in The New Indian Express on September 13, 2014

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Gypsy Grooves on the Stage

Gypsies, ostracised from mainstream culture, are survivors, nonetheless. Often seen as ‘outsiders’ and despite being scattered across vast geo-cultural spaces, they are united by a common thread – the richness of their music and dance.

Through the years, their lifestyle has influenced many early forms of modern dance forms as disparate as north-Indian Kathak, Spanish flamenco and Egyptian belly dance. Giving Bangaloreans a glimpse into what a Gypsy life is like and how they have influenced modern day culture, a dance performance part of The SaraLuna Dance Project will be held on Saturday.

The SaraLuna project comprises of Indu Manohar and Kavya Viswanathan

The SaraLuna project comprises of Indu Manohar and Kavya Viswanathan

The project, founded in June this year by Studio Tarang – an open cultural space for dance and drama, traces the journey of the Roma people – often referred to as the ‘gypsies’ – through their diverse dance forms. “It will be an evening of dance, showcasing flamenco and belly dance. Many modern forms that we see today owe much of their early development to Spanish gypsies or gitanos and Egyptian gypsies known as the ghawazi,” says Indu Manohar, one of the founders.

 Indu, who dances kathak, odissi and flamenco, dons the hat of Luna and her friend, the belly dance instructor, odissi dancer and co-founder of Tarang, Kavya Viswanathan is Sara. Indu adds, “Kavya is a globetrotter. In order to learn the dances of the nomadic community, she had travelled around the world. In fact, she was in Turkey earlier this year and will chase down the last gypsy dancers of Egypt in November.”

Together, reflects Indu, they “seek to explore the contradictions of the gypsy existence through dance – they are united but diverse, nomadic but have a home in music and dance, persecuted but imitated, assimilated but kept estranged.” They also hope to study the different Romani trail dance forms that have come in contact with different cultures and civilisations through intercultural performances.

Saturday’s event will herald a series of performances throughout the city in the coming months. The dancing duo aim to raise awareness about the community’s immense contribution to culture around the world and also throw light on their current plight through workshops, classes and social activities. 

The SaraLuna Project will be held at Opus in Vasanthnagar at 7.30 pm on September 6.


 

First published in The New Indian Express on September 4, 2014

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In conversation with graphic artist, Seth Tobocman

A few days ago, I got a chance to talk to Seth Tobocman, the brain behind the comic magazine – World War 3 Illustrated. Of course I was nervous. I was going to talk to one of the most renowned graphic artists from America, the one who has championed many radical causes, whose comics delve into subjects that are real — be it political unrest, global warming or monetary crises. The interview was in relation to a visual demonstration he was going to conduct at the Rangoli Metro Arts Centre. The performance, he told me over the phone, was going to be based on the cultural concert (Cartoon Concert) method developed by cartoonist and illustrator, Vaughn Bode. Which meant that he would use comic strips and fuse them with PowerPoint slides and perform the text. And the themes would include “various issues of importance at the moment like the Palestinian conflict, global warming, social justice and homelessness in the USA, among others.” 

During the conversation that went on for over an hour, he held forth on his stay in Bangalore, his comics, his comic creation process and the medium in general. 

On life in Bangalore

Seth travelled to Bangalore over a month ago as part of the T.A.J Residency programme, a collaborative project between visual artists and gallerists. This gave him a chance to showcase his sketches on his upcoming comic book entitled A biography of Leonard Weinglass, an illustration of the life and works of a US criminal defense lawyer, and also interact with other artists from the country like Orijit Sen and Appupen. He also took part in a demonstration against rape that took place at Town Hall, a few weeks ago.

“The people in Bangalore are very fascinating. They did not hesitate to come up to me and talk about my work. For instance, two days back, I was drawing the street life around a temple at around 1 am.

Three boys came up to me and struck a conversation,” he says.  Of particular interest to him is the traffic in the city. “Maybe I will plan a comic piece around my life in Bangalore, ” he says.

On his creative process

“I sometimes complete a piece overnight, that is if the deadlines are stringent. If not, it takes atleast a day or two for me to complete a page. I first think of a plot, then come upon a structure. An important aspect is the rhythm which is akin to that of poetry. A comic artist should also pay attention to the visual construction, representation, of how much you can extract from the plot.”

On art that stirs reactions

The political comic book ‘World War 3’ marked the start of his career as an artist. The book came to fruition in 1979 after he and his friend, Peter Kruper decided to self publish a book that became a beacon for anti war propaganda. “I grew up reading comics and was fascinated by them. But then, there came a point when I realised that all comics were similar, they didn’t have any new plotlines. This compelled us (Seth and Peter) to create our own comic book.” Over the years, the magazine evolved, becoming a series and encompassing more than just it’s initial premise which was ‘concern over nuclear war’.

Seth is of the belief that comics are a great way to communicate with absolutely anyone and hence tries his best to ensure his comic books highlight relevant subjects and highlight his social observations. “Comics are very simplistic in nature and easy to understand,” he notes. And hence, like World War 3, Seth has gone on to publish many other radical works like ‘Understanding the Crash’ — a meditation on the sub-mortgage crisis that crashed Wall Street, ‘You don’t have to f**k people over to survive’ which is an attack on the morality, politics and social conditions of the Reagan era. Then there’s ‘Disaster and Resistance’, describing the disastrous events of the 21st century: 9-11, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and many others. And all of his comics have one common goal, epitomising these very words that described the 43 edition of World War 3– “No idea should be unspeakable. No emotion can be forever repressed. No one is above criticism. But critique, speech, and expression, are only meaningful in relation to the goals of liberating humanity and preserving nature.”

On the future of comic books

Where does he see the comic industry heading towards in the next decade? He is sanguine as he answers, “It is a very interesting period for this medium. Back in America, I find a lot of artists from Kyro and Lebanon making interesting stuff. There is a whole new wave of comic expression which is only good for the industry.”


First appeared in The New Indian Express

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An art show that celebrates the freedom of expression among young, up-and-coming artistes

For over a year now, Rangoli Metro Art Center has tried to bring to the fore many art forms that dot the cultural landscape of the country, giving a glimpse into the life and works of myriad artists. In yet another new initiative, the gallery will present 30 young creators, who have no big exhibition to their credit but whose works resonate with aesthetic brilliance. Surekha, the curator of the show  asserts, “These are artistes who have just graduated from college. They have created some great works, but they are not market-oriented. There are not many opportunities in Bangalore for them as most galleries seek big-name artistes. This show is a stepping stone for them.”

The exhibition, which kicked off on August 15, showcases the contributions these artists have made to the rich tapestry of art. Surekha tells us that the artists work with different genres, so the show has paintings, sculptures, light, video and sound installations, prints, performance, photography, drawings, etc.”It is the freedom of expression that we celebrated this independence day, the freedom that the new generation of artists can enjoy,” she opines.

Coin box Post Art History

An artist, Deepak, who has studied art history and who is part of the exhibition, seconds the thought. “The exhibition tries to bridge the all-too prevalent divide in the art space in the city. To put it in perspective, there are over 70 galleries in Bangalore but only a handful, say 1 or 2 per cent of them allow amateur artistes to portray their works. Moreover, Karnataka produces at least 1000 artistes every year.” He has been working in the art space for over two years, having graduated in 2012. At the show, he is showcasing his sound art work which deals with the concept of ‘emotions and surroundings.’ “I have been fascinated by how a person reacts to the surroundings, how he responds with a flurry of emotions. My piece throws light on that aspect,” he says.

Another artist, Vineesh V Amin attempts to link consciousness with the subconsciousness and explore the philosophy of the process through installations and light work. He explains, “I believe existence is perceptual and dependant on possibilities which are an extension of thoughts. My work focuses on transition, delving into the intermediate spaces between spaces which are either abstract or virtual. I have used kinetic and mechanical installations to portray this transition and lasers, which just like belief, are intangible.”

Line and Beyond, according to him, is a place where all artists can congregate and exchange ideas. He adds, “There are two groups of artistes — the ones who dabble in commercial work and the others, non-commercial. As artistes working in the non-commercial space, we work with a lot of different theories and concepts. An exhibition like this, brings such artistes together to share different perspectives.”

Deepak adds that Line and Beyond also aims to break away from the conventional gallery construct and reach out to the public. “When you exhibit at a gallery, you only interact with the art enthusiasts and the elite. Here, we hope to mingle with the public and learn about their reaction to art, understanding our own work in the process.”

Published in The New Indian Express on August 12, 2014.

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