Art Heritage, an art gallery hosting a multi-disciplinary exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi, opens with a peculiar image: a Gandhi ‘impersonator’ standing in an Indian school as stunned children look on. The image is from the exhibition titled “Mahatma: Self or Nation?”, which displays photographs, paintings, woodcuts, sculptures, and videos. The show, which closes on Friday before reopening for the whole of July, analyses Gandhi’s legacy and philosophy as India enters a new chapter in her long and diverse history.
It is currently open at the Triveni Kala Sangam here. In his ‘Being Gandhi’ photo series, photographer Cop Shiva captures Bagadehalli Basavaraju, a small town schoolteacher and a staunch believer in Gandhian ideals as the latter ‘replicates’ Gandhi, as we have seen him. Seen smeared in silver paint and donning appropriate costumes and props, Basavaraju’s effort is at ‘performing’ Gandhi as a physical presence.
A wall dedicated to photographs, ‘Studio Suhag’ shows a more aspirational India where Suresh Punjabi has shown common people flocking to photography studios to take images. In addition to the artworks, visitors can see episodes of TV mini-series ‘Raj Se Swaraj’, directed by gallery head Amal Allana, that aired on Doordarshan in the mid-1980s. The episodes show the Gandhi-Broomfield trial of the mid-1920s.