In The Time of Working from Home #4

For our fourth iteration of this series, we chose the medium of the still image. Each team member chose an image or two from sketches and photographs produced by the team during the lockdown, many of which have been curated as part of the exhibition Covid Expressionsat the Icon Art gallery in Hyderabad. Here we present what each member of the team chose, and why, in their own words:

Shriya chose Meenakshi’s Spatial Transformation

The whole city now resides in balconies. Road no.4, Banjara Hills, HyderabadSketch by Meenakshi

Posted by Hyderabad Urban Lab on Thursday, April 30, 2020

“I related to this sketch because I only got to know my neighbours during the lockdown and this is what the lockdown was like for me. One night we played music from our balconies and put up lights from our balconies – we turned the balconies into discos.”

Meenakshi chose HUL intern Aditya Singh’s sketches No Fuel No Food and Shuttered Life

“His sketches are very different from the rest of us, the strokes are really confident, you really feel the expressions on people’s faces. We have seen so many images of streets and people’s helplessness, here you really feel the expressions; and Shuttered Life is neither 2D nor 3D, it is something in between.”

Kabeer chose Ravi’s Bar and Grill, and Neha’s series of sketches of migrants To Draw is to Remember.

“In Neha’s work the focus is on the human as subject and object, there is no context, which universalises what is happening. You don’t need to know whether this is Delhi, Gurgaon or Ahmedabad. On the other hand, Ravi’s sketches are about how changes in our built environment have changed human life. The subject and object are embedded in the environment and that has been strongly communicated.”

Ma’am B chose Kabeer’s Covid Colours and #7 from Neha’s To Draw is to Remember series

“In COVID Colours the way the not so young man is walking is almost like the entire weight of this moment is pressing him down. All of us are under multiple stresses, not just the disease, or the economy or our personal lives alone. Despite all this weighing the man down, the image also conveys the impression of light and colour. In Neha’s image, we see that the child that the woman is carrying is not an infant, which suggests that they have already walked a long distance and he cannot walk anymore. It is a very difficult moment, but everything about the woman – her stance, the bag on her head – presents poise amidst uncertainty, like somebody balanced on one foot or on marshy land. “

Dr. A chose  Aditya Singh’s No Fuel No Food

“The gas cylinder became such an important thing for so many people during the lockdown. You could supply food but they couldn’t cook without fuel. Everywhere the mini-gas cylinder became a lifesaving thing, it tells us so much about how life happens.”

Bharat chose two photographs, one taken by Md. Siraj and the other taken by his nephew Muzammil, documenting the relief work undertaken by HUL during the lockdown.

“I keep going back to the image of the vegetables clustered in Siraj’s house for distribution. Without context, it looks like a very appealing image of prosperity, with all the fresh colourful vegetables in large quantities, but the context is actually one of suffering, hardship and uncertainty. That irony is something I can’t stop thinking about. The second image, in which Md. Siraj and his entire family is seen involved in preparing packets of provisions for distribution, brings an interesting perspective on the lockdown. For many people, narrating the lockdown means narrating an experience of home, as other spaces became closed off to us, and here one can clearly see how things happening outside can change the dynamic within the home and the family.”

The COVID Expressions can be viewed online here.

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