Amidst all the protests and chaos surrounding the announcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act, there is a movement for artists to visually express what they really feel about the CAA, silently but strongly. Last Saturday, Artists against CAA gathered at Azad Maidan to showcase their talent as an expression of protest.
One such artist, Nandakumar Jogdand from Aurangabad, had previously participated in similar movements like in protests the Rohith Vemula and Gauri Lankesh. At that time, in Aurangabad, an artist’s movement was organized for people to be able to put forth their opinions through paintings. Even when Pakistan had declared that alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav would be hung, a similar movement was held at Azad Maidan itself where Jogdand had participated.
He feels that the CAA is religiously discriminatory and goes against the Constitution of India as well, which is why artists have felt the need to come forth and protest in such a manner. “Previously, one would see art as purely a form of entertainment. But now, it can be used to raise strong opinions against the wrong doings in a country”, says Jogdand. He also declares, “Because of all the questions forcefully rising in society on this topic, artists have decided to come forward and protest by painting these thoughts.”
With movements such as these, there is a certain awareness spreading that artists are not solely for entertainment purposes but can also come together to raise important questions. The paintings will be put up at various exhibitions according to the people handling such secular movements. as was previously done in places like Nagpur and Kolhapur.
“If we create a work of art depicting Gaumata in anything but the most favourable light, people will starting commenting that this artist is an ‘anti-national’ person. I mean to say that art is such a medium that is known to be very sensitive and responsive to movements in society,” said Prabhakar Kamble, a concept artist. “And as we see that there are so many unfair things happening in the country, we have also stepped out of our doors to seek justice against anti-Constitution and anti-secularism laws such as the CAA, with such programs.”
Kable was at Azad Maidan on Saturday along with scores of other artists to take part in the Artists Against CAA program. It had been organised by Gautamiputra Kamble, the president of ‘Secular Movement Organization’ as part of the ongoing anti-CAA agitations in the city.
“There are common people protesting against the two laws, there are also politicians who are protesting. So we, the artists also have come out to contribute to this through our Secular Artists Movement, where artists will come and paint their ideas and thoughts on the canvas protesting the two laws,” said the President Gautamiputra Kamble.
Vikrant Bhise, a well-known artist, said, “Implementing the laws was like slapping the face of ‘aam aadmi’. In this picture I have painted myself as a symbol of the local. There is a setup of a shop and they are beating a common man or a student. Iin this protest we have seen many youths coming on the streets and as a visual artist, I paint what I see”.
Another artist, Prakash Bhise, who is also a professor of art, made a painting explaining Article 14 of the Constitution (equality before the law). “This is the fundamental base of the Constitution. It doesn’t matter if the family is poor or of higher class or any religion, we are meant to be secular. Even the tribal communities, their forefathers haven’t preserved their papers so from where will they get it now. So this is what my art work depicts.” Bhise was referring to fears that the government will demand that every citizen give documentary proof of his forefathers to prove he or she is a citizen.
Written by Samara Fernandes with inputs from Martina Bhoya. Pics by Malhar Desai
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