I did this project while in a residency themed ‘City as Site’ in Bangalore at 1 Shanthi Road supported by Shergill-Sundaram Arts Foundation.
I created series of postcards with images of public monuments around the cubbon park area made during and after the Colonial era of Bangalore. Subverting the idea of a ‘City Beautiful Movement’ commonly seen in the postcards available in city museums and galleries, I am trying to bring forth the forgotten or unacknowledged facets of urban life. Different situations are depicted by manipulating images by removing the existing sculptures on pedestals and replacing them with a man selling balloons on the street, a sweeper cleaning Gandhi memorials, a crumbling column from Krumbiegel’s lecture hall in Lalbaug garden, a monument which takes its own photographs.
While I was on the fifth day in the residency, Gauri Lankesh, a known journalist was murdered in the city of Bangalore because of her political opinions and persistent activism against the right wing forces in India. The image of Gauri Lankesh’s dead body was circulated in the media after the murder. I removed the sculpture of Mark Cubbon on a pedestal in front of the Karnataka High court and replaced with Gauri’s bleeding body to remind the hegemonic power structures of the unjust methods they use to proliferate their cause.
My gestures by manipulating images are a response to the city and its past and present. With this work I wish to interrogate the presence of monuments within Indian context and respond with an ironic interpretation of these monuments, which many post world war German artists also called ‘Anti-Monuments’. I am interested in this inherent irony of creating monuments to counter argue the very essence of what monuments are built for. By Anti- Monuments, what I mean is a set of alternatives to existing monuments of the city by subverting the hegemonic ideals which manufactured those monuments in the first place.