crisis care catharsis


Ahmedabad: The City Gandhi Left Behind, 2015-2016 Casein and pigment on canvas

A bird’s eye view of the city burnt and charred, painted in the nuanced shades of black and grey makes for a haunting image. The bright fiery hue at the centre directs the viewer’s eye to the image of an auto rickshaw set ablaze, the metaphor for the Gujarat riots. The stark contrast in colour tones, unfolds an unsettling narrative of the city that has stood witness to communal polarisation and violence in the recent past. The city in narration is believed to be Ahmedabad that Gandhi left behind, situated on the banks of river Sabarmati and the site of the famous Gandhi Ashram. Five personal objects of daily use which defined Gandhi’s asceticism: a pair of sandals, pocket watch, plate, bowl and the round spectacles (which Gandhi said gave him the vision to see an independent India, are randomly placed by Sheikh in different pols or housing clusters in the heart of Ahmedabad.

The deserted pols make the city look like a city of ghosts, with lone figures carrying on with life and its every day chores. Has the city come to a standstill or is sanity returning to the melancholic city?