Bothered by public walls and how they are treated, artist Prasoon Poddar turns his art into projects of self-reflection for the public, writes Alice Sharma
Does dirt bother you? Does it bother you enough to make change? Does it bother you so much that you become obsessed with the idea of creating art around the subject, so that people can reflect on how much they contribute to it? 32-year-old artist, Prasoon Poddar is on a mission to clean India, one art project at a time. “All of us want a ‘Swachh Bharat’, but none of us wants to work towards it.“
Poddar was always attracted by the idea of cleanliness outside the temples. He was fascinated by the fact how the wall on every other street is covered with posters of job openings, counselling sessions, and for that matter by posters of gods in temples. “My work mainly discusses the issues related with the public places, especially the ‘public walls’ and how these walls are treated by the public,” says Poddar, whose project The Laal Wall aims to throw light at the hypocrisy of people who visit temples bare foot because they want to keep it clean but have posters splattered on walls outside to get attention of the thirsty. Painted red with posters, words and a metal tap, the installation is a reminder of how we treat our public spaces.
As an artist, Poddar is a keen observer of people and this is where his inspiration comes from. His earlier project included manual scavengers, he says the reason he chooses such subjects is because he feels strongly for the cause of cleanliness. “We are all pseudo-intellectuals. The reality is that we all behave like illiterates,” he tells sbcltr, adding, “I am not only concerned about what is happening inside the walls of my home but also outside. Each day, hundreds of unwanted, never read posters grow on walls, like a fungus infecting a man.”
His latest obsession is currency notes; he wants to highlight how people ruin them by scribbling on them. Visibly agitated he says that, “people write god’s name or try to ape the recent Sonam Gupta Bewafa hai trend even on currency notes. It’s like we are obsessed with rambling and destroying, no thing or place is ever left clean.”
In response to this social disease Poddar speaks through his paintings and sculptures shifting the spotlight to the culprit from the crime.