Abhishek Hazra's Droboniyo attempts to explore context in the history of ideas
The visual leaves the viewer wondering whether one needs to show compassion or just be amused by Droboniyo's imprisoned state in the lecture performance Nirad Babu Goes To Norway (with Droboniyo). Droboniyo is not any ordinary citizen. He has taken up the formidable task of translating Nirad C Chaudhuri's texts.
The late Chaudhuri, the Indian Bengali-English writer, who is well-known for his masterpiece, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, was gravely misunderstood and misinterpreted by many. So Droboniyo is trying to set the record right taking into consideration the historical context of Chaudhuri's work. For those who wonder who Droboniyo is, he is artist Abhishek Hazra's creation. He is the protagonist - we call him that - of Abhishek's new show "I Am Sitting In Droboniyo's Tippani Room."
Droboniyo's black and white visual - of him wearing a mask made of cloth, standing behind illusionary bars of a prison, represents the crux of the show that also includes another animation artwork and a few prints. Talking about the purpose of the show, Abhishek says, "I was interested in the contradictions he (Chaudhuri) posed. He had a sharp eye for the contradictions inherent in history. There are multiple threads that with multiple inter-connections (in the lecture performance by Droboniyo) offer entry points to different perspectives of history." Abhishek plays Droboniyo in the lecture performance video that's a little over 30 minutes. Essentially, the artist is exploring the politics of knowledge and is attempting to add to the social history of ideas.
The other animation presentation showcases an exchange of letters between Karl Marx and a Russian Communist. This is interspersed with animated figures and a short clip of a song from the Balraj Sahani film, Do Bheega Zameen - a socialist film about the changing India post independence. But it's Droboniyo's lecture that is the highlight. It has its moments of dark humour too. When asked if it is biographical, Abhishek says, "He is a fictional character but I am playing on the ambiguity of it being biographical."
Entry free. Till May 11. At Galleryske, Berlie Street