Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Law of Averages

Say it loud. We're average and we're proud! Do we, as a society, worship the average and nurture mediocrity? Do we, with our actions and inactions, not only uphold the mundane and below-par, but also resist agents of change? Aren’t we guilty of huddling together in our comfort zones of the pedestrian mainstream? Don’t we often find ourselves systematically focusing our efforts on pretending that superlatives in any field simply cannot exist? We complacently justify ordinariness in every sphere of life. Mediocrity in public life and leadership, in books, or sports; this seems to be what the public wants and supports. But, does popular appeal alone justify shoddy work? Must we, Indians, continue to aspire to the lowest common denominator?

On the flip side of the coin, what’s wrong with being average, which also means normal, ordinary and usual? Must we be tossed into some social compost pit because we aren’t all Gandhijis and Einsteins? Does anyone have the right to judge us for swaying to commonplace but catchy tunes or enjoying hastily-patched-together pulp fiction? Last, but not least, must ‘average’ necessarily be equated with lack of skill, intellect and overall abysmal lack of quality?

My long rant on the subject is published in Sunday herald

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

chinese photography

IT"S NOT IT _ TOOL (Chu Chu/OFOTO/Tasveer)

I recently had the pleasure of viewing an exhibition of contemprorary photogrpahy from China. One of the most ancient and progressive civilisations in the world, China is surrounded by an aura of mystery. Making giant strides in economic growth and technological progress, China continues to remain enigmatic to the rest of the world in many ways. An exhibition of the work of six contemporary Chinese photographers, which has been made possible by Glenfiddich, Tasveer and OFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, seeks to throw fresh light on the complex culture of China today.

Chu Chu’s series, ‘It’s Not it – Tool’, for example, shows everyday objects such as a wok, a spanner, scissors and a hammer from unusual perspectives, encouraging viewers to perceive them as objects of art transcending their mundane functionality. These larger-than-life images in black and white shades encourage an appreciation of their forms, rendering the familiar with fresh aesthetic appeal. Viewing these objects from unusual angles and perspectives, one wonders about the human stories behind the people who created and used them.
China is the world’s most populous country. Yet people are conspicuous by their absence in most of these photographs. What we see is things they have created and used; homes, skyscrapers, elevated roadways, tools and objects of daily use. Through these images, these Chinese photographers are exploring and responding to cultural and economic sea changes sweeping their land, and their effects on their deep-rooted cultural values. Works such as these have intrinsic artistic value. They do not pose direct criticism or political challenges, but are suggestive of wider issues, urging the viewer to ask far reaching questions and seek answers.  My detailed article is  published in Sunday Herald

Monday, January 02, 2012

wishlist for 2012

As a 

As a new year dawns, what do ordinary folks like us wish for ourselves and for the world? Here's my wish list for 2012, May democratic values and peace rule, may every child have proper food, healthcare, education and most of all, the hope to be born. And if we do follow our human instincts and end up nuking our earth or smothering it in noxious wastes, let us take heart. Let’s hope to colonise Mars and discover other habitable planets out there to explore, exploit and devastate. Read my detailed take in Sunday Herald