As you walk into the room where artist Sunil Padwal’s installation ‘Room for Lies’ is set up, you feel that you have entered a place that narrates a lot of stories. The walls of the room at the Aspinwall House are adorned with photographs, drawings and collectibles that represent South Mumbai, a place where Sunil was born and brought up. He tries to capture different shades of the place and the drastic changes it undergoes, through his works.
“At one level, the work is simple, but on the other, it is quite complex. It is not merely the observation of the city where I live. It comes from my memories. I have tried to portray the changes in architecture, climate and alike through these exhibits,” says Sunil.
The entire work may look like a soliloquy to the spectator as it reflects the artist’s emotions towards his place. “I don’t think all visitors would get it,” he smiles. But, one would definitely be able to feel the life of the place. “I have not done that deliberately. It just came like that,” he explains.
On captioning the installation ‘Room for Lies’, he says, “It is derived from Le Corbusier’s famous quote — ‘I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for lies.’ When I sit down to draw, millions of thoughts fill my mind. I start off with one thought but end up differently. Although the entire effort is a truth, there will be some kind of lies in the drawings. That is what the whole idea is about.”
The photographs are candid shots and the objects in the room create an extra layer to the drawings and photographs. “I started collecting things as I felt that the Bombay where I grew up was slowly fading away. I started drawings almost a year ago. Photographs, I have been taking for the past three years. But, for the Biennale, I brought only those that would go with the theme,” says the advertising professional-turned-artist.
After completing Fine Arts from J J School of Art, Mumbai, Sunil turned to advertising due to financial reasons although he knew that it was not his cup of tea. And, he moved back to art after a while.
Sunil is surprised to see Kochiites’s reaction to art. “Most of them don’t understand conceptual art, still they are curious. It may be because of the literacy level or their basic fondness for art. But, you wouldn’t see that enthusiasm in any other city,” he signs off.