Art Alive Gallery brings to you a solo show of Jatin Das, Exodus 2020, a series of ink paintings done by the artist during the lockdown in the wake of mass migration of labourers across Indian cities. The pandemic changed the world in many ways, Jatin Das looks at the fragility of human existence in these challenging times. Captured in Ink on paper, in his signature style, the artists sensitively looks at the struggle, the poverty and the experience of migrant workers in urban India.
“Like everyone else, I was stuck at home for more than six months. I barely stepped out. What I missed the most was going to my studio, where I work from morning to late evening. Instead, I spent most of my time cooking and cleaning. But I was restless at home. I had two hundred odd acid free paper, some inkpots and lots of brushes. So I began painting. What appeared in the newspapers and television, and what I had observed over the years, all spontaneously came pouring out. And that is how the series was born, which I have named ‘Exodus 2020’. My inspiration for my work has always come from the working class. Those who make roads, lay bricks, paint high rise buildings. The beldars, thhelawallahs, kudawallahs, manhole cleaners, rag pickers, house-help, construction workers, all those who toil non-stop. During the lockdown the migrant workers, who build our homes and cities, had to go back to their villages. There was no work in the city, so no earnings. Hundreds and thousands of them had to walk bare feet, some on cycles, and others atop buses, without fearing the scorching sun, without food and water. They went with their little belongings, tucked under their arms, or on their heads. Men and women carried their children on their shoulders, in baskets, in their tired arms, quietly walking, through days and nights, non-stop. Normally, I paint figures, who are bare bodied, beyond any specific context of time and place. I don’t have any other elements of clothing, architecture, foliage or animals, or anything that would localise it. But this is a special series, a response to our troubled times.”