crisis care catharsis

ASHIM PURKAYASTHA Shelter, 2019 Found objects, rice paper, stone bricks

The title Shelter is a wordplay that Ashim Purkayastha engages in. The found stones retain stories of homes broken and built. Hence, they play the role of storytellers and mnemonic articles, objects for expressing protest as well as protection. Purkayastha on his walks around the city of Delhi back in 2014 started collecting stones and broken bricks from remote areas with migrant settlements. The stones were stacked without the use of cement or mortar for instant construction of temporary homes by migrants. This impermanent assembly gave birth to the installation Shelter. 

The artist while participating in various dharnas (demonstrations) often witnessed how peaceful assemblies would turn violent using stones as a gesture to both target and disperse the crowd.  The raging speed of stones flung in ‘Untitled’ appear as blobs of flesh and blood on the canvas, capturing the multiple meanings and functions of the imagery. The installation Shelter along with the untitled painting was displayed by KNMA at the India Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2019.