Art must go on 

ByProma Chakraborty

Jul 10, 2020

Artworks from 30 artists reflecting the high creativity and great suffering of the lockdown from multiple locations are being brought together in an extensive online exhibition 

Conceived on the first day of the initial three-week lockdown, a remote arts residency featuring 30 artists confined in homes and studios in a multitude of locations, has culminated in an extensive online exhibition.

While these artists stayed locked down in word but unlocked in spirit, their works can be viewed in the exhibition aptly titled ‘The Spirit Remains Unlocked’.

Curated by The Art Route, it features works across varied mediums like painting, drawing, illustration, photography, sculpture, ceramic, mosaic, digital art and video art.

The exhibition attempts to celebrate the resilience and unrestrained creative spirit of artists and presents unique vignettes of their experiences of these unprecedented times.

“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,” says curator Lubna Sen.

Each one of these works reflects how individual artists react to current times. ‘Imperceptible Warriors’ by Venkatesh Sabbaravapu, captures the plight of migrant labourers who lost their livelihood in the cities and were forced to walk back to their villages. While Nitasha Jaini’s ‘Lockdown Drawing’ series touches upon domestic violence inflicted upon victims forced to co-exist with their tormentors under the same roof.

Venkatesh Sabbaravapu’s digital print work, ‘Imperceptible Warriors’

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.

“The project allowed us to peek into artists’ solitary worlds. This was a period of high creative energy and positivity with artists bouncing off their ideas and works with one another. There were also moments of extreme despair and sorrow. Sudden loss of a loved one, hurricane destroying a studio, moments of anxiety, depression and darkness. One resolve always remained unchanged – spread positivity through creativity. Art has to go on,” adds Sen.

In the spirit of giving back to society, The Art Route has also collaborated with Save the Children Foundation and will donate 25% of the proceeds of sales of artworks from the exhibition to it.

The exhibition is on view on the website of Art Route till August 15

(Cover: Artist Kanika Singh’s work, ‘ Filling in the Blues with Sunshine’)