As an assignment for the sculpting block of my IB Visual Art course, I made this piece called ‘Hungaami Halaat – our bloodstained lives’. The picture is attached along with the artist statement that accompanied the submission. Have a read and give it a thought.
It is considered a great fate here if we manage to keep surviving in the jungle that this country has become. It is a victory here if you’re able to commute from one place to another without horrific stories about an incident that happened on the way to narrate to your friends the next day. But this is all that we realise and are conscious about. This is what we, in an active state of mind, are aware of. And this is not all that we are suffering from.
I have made this sculpture, titled ‘Hungami Halaat – our bloodstained lives’, as a testimony to this subliminal suffering in our lives. This suffering is beyond taking bullets and blasts on ourselves but extends to being splashed with blood from all around us. Even if we have not directly been a victim of violence, the constant news and exposure to bloodshed in the background is ingrained in our mind so much so that we spill that blood out later without even realising.
Terms related to weapons, terrorism, death and blood have become very common in our vocabulary. And this violent vocabulary, I believe, is owed to news and media which exposes all that is happening around to people. In this way even those who are directly not affected by terrorism become a part of this vicious cycle on a certain level.
The hands in this sculpture themselves are made of plaster bandage. There is damage everywhere, as even the hands are not in the most firm position. The damage here is not only physical but extends to our mind and soul as a result of an amalgamation of violence and its projection that people are subjected to.
Another prominent medium is the newspaper that has been used to give a bit texture and depth to the piece. However, this too goes beyond the purpose of giving texture to only the sculpture. News especially, the words and terminologies used in it have become a symbol in itself of the widespread impact of war and terrorism. There was a time when wars would be waged but people would not know about it until that single daily news telecast on a black and white television would inform them. However, in the 21stcentury news has added so many colours to information about war that we are given. From the moment that the incident occurs to the dead bodies, every image is conveyed to us in the best quality pixels, which really takes the impact of everything to a greater level.
It is ironic how we might sit in front of a news source getting enlightened about the atrocities of the surrounding and feel how we have steered clear from all of it. Where, in fact, we are also getting affected. And over prolonged exposure to this, those who aren’t directly affected, enter a vicious cycle in which their wounds are not visible and they cannot event reject something like news.
Having said this, the problem is more intense because it does not really have a plausible solution. Can we completely get away from violence? Is there a way we stop receiving information about violence? Is news the only source of information about violence?
Eventually, whichever way we choose, the fact that our lives will continue to get stained by other’s blood will remain. It’s just that we have to minimise the damage in a way that suits us best.
One way of healing is itself hinted in the whole concept of creating an artwork on it – yes, art! To let the pain, anger or any other feeling evoked by the situation corrode us from inside would augment its effect. As a relief to this, there is a need to resort to ways of expressing this feeling. The word ‘art’ here does not mean visual creations only but in fact any source of peace and relief would become a form of art in this case. The involvement of all kinds of people from the society in something artistic would become a way for them to let out these emotions brewing inside. Otherwise, to let it keep cooking would mean suffocating oneself to worse death than being a direct victim to terrorism.
Keeping in mind these effects of violence on us, I have created this piece, which in itself is evidence to the claim that bloodshed has widespread effects on us.