Palace road, Bangalore/south audly street, May fair The series of photographs denotes the overlapping of different cultures; the pastiche of the European classical statues and Indian religious dieties, sold by the road side craftsmen. It is one of the contemporaneous and popular version of a historic truth of the country, India. It is a comment upon the cultures in disguise brought about through colonisation post colonial experience and a quest for a self identity. These photos are the snaps of the roadside view usually seen on the palace road..Bangalore.The cast of sculptures decorated with the tri-coloured of Indian national flag, The photos author the anonymous authorisation of this coalition of two multiple traditions which are wide apart in time and space.
One day, I was driving to see an exhibition in a gallery. It had almost become a routine for the artist community yet that was the meeting place for the artistic crowd.
Enroute, I saw this cluster of plaster casts of Greek-Roman sculptures. They were displayed like disciplined soldiers, on the pavement. They hindered the pedastrians and attracted a few of them. Some of them even bought them, so much reducing the ‘occupied space’ on the pavement and making the buyers’ movement more comfortable. A functional space was in combat with the aesthetic one.
These pastiche objects rested against a tall and wide wall that encircles ‘the’ palace ground in Bangalore. Apart from its serious history, this ground is in itself a resistance to the ever rising buildings in and around the city. On the other side of this pavement is a lane that contains the important centers of what constitutes a city: a theatre, a hotel, an agency, a railway track and a medical institution.
Seeing these objects, I cut short my visit to the gallery. There was a tent pitched next to the display. It was the temporary house of the gypsy people from the norther part of the country, who owned this open-air exhibition. The artistic producers and the produced were together at display, for free, on the road side, wherein a traffic of about 5,000 vehicles pass by everyday. Even if one among four drivers gaze at this, the number of audience that has viewed this show would be several times more than those minimum viewership at the gallery shows!
The producers, creators and salesmen — were the same gypsies who stayed with their shows, twenty four hours a day. There were a few women, children and men preparing the plaster moulds of some more sculptures of the European origin and tradition. A live demonstration next to a show — it is a habit rather fading off in the history of serious art in India.
There were Greek Apollo goddesses next to Indian Krishnas, the same European classical beauty was coloured to be both white and dark, an Indian semi-naked beauty from Khajuraho was carrying a a pot of water behind the installation of a Greek women painted in bright colours of Indian national identity. A slight movement of their creators could make the Indian ‘stand’ ahead of her Western counterpart! A chandelier hung from a tree branch, brightening the whole display area without being really lit. A lemon,