Artist Anjan Modak's Fragmented Life is a stark take on the post-pandemic life of migrant workers
For the majority of the society's poor, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown have spelt an economic doom leading to starvation and penury and the worst hit of the lot is the migrant labour class. Left to starve without any help in big cities and unprotected against the virus, the entire nation watched the helpless lot as they made their way to home on foot in the sweltering heat of the summer.
Affected by the sights of their suffering, artist Anjan Modak has painted a series of small size, circular-format paintings titled Fragmented Life, showing the dismal experiences of the migrant workers during the hard times of pandemic.
Though topical, the series of paintings can be seen as a part of the artist’s large body of work that represents the life of the working class. Showing mastery in narrative figuration, these works invoke no triumph of labour, but the aesthetics of everyday life, connecting mundane, commonplace objects, gestures, memories and emotions to the wider, dominant social and political forces shaping the popular life of the society.
Drawing on diverse visual traditions, from surrealism and puppetry to biology textbook illustrations, in his paintings Anjan, an insider and well familiar with the complexity of the subaltern mentalities, marked by the sense of subordination, anomie and insecurity, does not represent the subaltern life merely objectively, but as a layered, fragmented narrative of body, history and the city.
“To promote an air of positivity through art, we had aimed at showcasing the prolific artwork of our artists during the entire lockdown phase. After receiving an overwhelming response for two of our earlier online exhibitions, we are now showcasing the recent artwork of contemporary artist, Anjan Modak. From surrealism and puppetry to biology textbook illustrations, Anjan, in his paintings, does not represent the subaltern life merely objectively, but as a layered, fragmented narrative of body, history and the city. The artist’s large body of work represents the life of the working class in a sublime manner”, says Richa Agarwal, CEO, Emami Art.
A Kolkata-based contemporary artist, Anjan Modak studied painting at Rabindra Bharati University, graduating in 2009. His noted work is characterised by his long engagement with the working class, the struggles and survivals of the migrant workers in the big cities of India. Ruin Collector, Piece of Wounded Land, Uncertain Journey, In Search of Safe Habitat and Happy Couple are a few of his notable works.
All total 19 paintings are being showcased in Fragmented Life, live now at