How Artsy Are You? Join the Aam Janta In Interpreting These Works
Aam janta versus artists: Let’s find out who is more creative!
Aam janta versus artists: Let’s find out who is more creative!(Photo: Kamran Akhtar)

How Artsy Are You? Join the Aam Janta In Interpreting These Works

Who hasn’t stood in front of a piece of art and wondered, “Hmmm, what the hell could that possibly mean!”

Of course, you wouldn’t dare utter those words at the high-brow, rarified spaces that one usually associates with art galleries. But honestly, why stifle your creative instincts to interpret art, your way? Take a cue from these guys, who are giving us their interpretations of some of the most talked-about pieces at the India Art Fair. Mind you, there are some pretty hilarious responses inside!

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Shanthamani Muddaiah,&nbsp;<em>Fire Script</em>, 2018
Shanthamani Muddaiah, Fire Script, 2018
(Photo Courtesy: Gallery Sumukha)

What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you see the piece? Okay, maybe some cues from other people is what you really need.

Well, here’s how Simha Chalam, from Andhra Pradesh, interprets this piece.

“It might be fire, or a fire accident in a village or a forest.”
Simha Chalam

Well, fire is a good guess to make for an art piece made of burnt wood, right? Now, let’s look at what others are saying about this piece.

“We can say it is about the end of life because the identity of a wood is intact only while it’s unburnt.”
Hardev Singh, Photographer, Chandigarh 

Hardev paaji goes on to talk about the metaphorical meaning of raakh, and opines that this piece probably has something to do with mortality, or death.

Amazing responses, guys. But before that, can we check the meaning of this piece with the artist first?

“The work is about understanding the role of carbon in our lives.”
Shanthamani Muddaiah

Yes, the piece, FYI, is called 'Land of Fire Script’ and has been created by Bengaluru-based artist Shanthamani Muddaiah. Here’s what she has to say about the piece:

I showed the above clip with the artist’s interpretation to Chalam and Hardev Singh. And here’s what they said!

Well, 5% marks sounds too modest. We would like to give Hardev full marks for trying. But with Simha Chalam, we don’t need to bother with a pacifying message. ‘Cause he has given himself an 8/10!

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Now Let’s Move on to Artwork No. 2

For artwork number 2, we got a young boy, Abhiveer, 7, to decipher the piece. Here’s what he said.

Abhiveer’s answer was proof that the spirit of human endeavour and togetherness is alive and kicking, from the oldest of people to the youngest of them.

But then... little did we expect that the bada log would not have anything to do with the optimism this kid projected, and kick up a controversy instead.

But ladies and gentlemen, you would be surprised to know that the real meaning behind this art work is actually pretty sombre.

Here’s part of the artist’s answer:

“This work is about migration. I showed here, when a group of people migrate, how it looks.”
Sudipta Das, Artist

We Bet You Can’t Guess The Meaning of Artwork 3

But you can at least try, like these people did.

Both our respondents thought the work signified a “split personality”.

TBH, they were kinda on the same tangent. Afsos. The real meaning was slightly different, though.

The above piece is by Aisha Khalid, one of the leading artists of Pakistan, and is called “You and I” – she meant it as a critique of patriarchy, about how two-faced society is. The jacket is made to look regal, but the embroidery inside is done with needles, to represent the discomfort patriarchy causes to those who wear it.

Tell us, how many did you get right? Well, as for our participants, we would just say that the artists may be creative, but the aam janta is even more so!

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