The competitive urban life often leaves us as prisoners, albeit unwittingly, of sustenance and we are becoming rather fond of these transparent prison cells. Though a few of us might revolt against such self-imposed invisible chains, most, it seems, prefer imprisonment over a rebellion, mostly because we are scared of the vastness of the world outside these self-erected lucid walls. It feels as if for each of us, the universe itself has shrunk into a transparent bottle, made of glass, like the ones I have drawn in the series of paintings, being exhibited here.
It all started with a sudden epiphany while I was line drawing on my canvas one day. Line drawing, being my favorite past times, has a great effect on me as it tends to stir unusual but vital thoughts in me; just like the one of us being the prisoners of our sustenance. I became concerned about self-restraining ourselves in a tiny space upon this vast and spacious world. This in turn, inspired me to start working on the before mentioned theme. Initially I came up with the drawings and then started to work on the paintings.
The human beings, trapped inside the drawn bottles, represent the very society that we live in. Some of them have one of their eyes closed while the other one left wide open, then a few of those eyes have irises, to signify that they have dreams too. There are a few rebels as well who try to break free from the invisible chains and some of them have even succeeded, partially. Especially when those trapped inside the bottles see the vastness of world outside and feel that it is waiting for them with all its colors and panorama, some of them become rebellious. They become restless for freedom, to embrace the omniscient nature and be enlightened thoroughly. This is what we all must do, for only love of nature can set us free from these transparent prison cells.
bottle-1 Some boundaries demarcate geographical areas: farms, cities, states, countries. Some are visible (a mountain range or a river). Others, however, are invisible, imaginary. They only exist on paper. The role of boundaries are to keep some things/people in. To define people and places. Give them an identity. At the same time, though, their role is to keep others out.
Some boundaries we put on ourselves and the world around us. Often, these boundaries are invisible, transparent. Though we know they exist, others are not necessarily aware of it. Boundaries become the way we think, act and perceive ourselves and the world, they define who we are, who and what we allow into our spaces and who we allow to shape our thinking.
Sometimes we accept these boundaries and live within their confines… other times, though, we try to break free from the limitations they put on us. We try to reshape our thinking and our view of the world. Sometimes successfully, other times not.
This exhibition shows in vivid image and color (or sometimes just through the bold expression of black and white images) how transparent boundaries exist in our lives. It takes us on a journey through the artist’s mind and displays the effects of transparent boundaries. In some cases the effects are permanent, negative and repressing. In other cases, the effects are that of liberation, the fight for freedom and the journey toward either living within transparent boundaries or trying to reshape the boundaries of who we are, what we think about and how we perceive the world.
Associate Professor of Journalism
Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma, USA