These days, the bustling heritage town of Mattancherry features a public artwork that symbolises society’s response to an instance of extreme violence that happened upcountry a year ago and caught global attention. A huge installation of a wailing woman with her hands held open towards the sky portrays the rage and agony associated with the Kathua rape.
Scream is the title of this Students’ Biennale work dealing with the abduction, assault and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu in January 2018. The installation, raised in an open ground by using logs of wood and stretches of fabric with a metal frame, is done by students and teachers of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh.
Some of the materials in Scream came from Kochi’s neighbourhood people, who were impressed by the artistic idea of the fine arts department of one of the country’s vintage educational institutions. While the logs were collected from a local raw mill, the artists have used rags as well in the work being put up at the exhibitory platform that runs parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Scream, curated by visual artist and academic Shukla Sawant, is done by artists Waseem Musthtaq, Sabie Ali, Abhishek Sharma, Pawan Pal, Mohd Aman, Sajan, Nawazish, Mohsina Aftab, Ghazala Parveen, Ranjan Kumar Prasad and Afshan Anjum. The work mirrors how society treats its female population and children. “If we chose to go for materials that are generally dubbed ‘useless’, it is deliberate. Such is the typical mentality shown towards women and children,” says Sawant....