Hate canvas

Pranava Prakash's exhibition profiles the MNS's hate campaign against North Indians in Mumabi

When the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) began its attacks on North Indians in Mumbai last year, Pranava Prakash, who belongs to Patna, was in the city. His mother would call him every day to check if he was fine. Those days of hate and insecurity return in Prakash's series of paintings called Chal hat be Bihari. "My art work is a direct reflection of my brief stint in Mumbai. It is a reflection that challenges the notion of hidden xenophobia in our generation that exists in the name of cultural regionalism," says Prakash.

"I met a taxi driver and asked him where was he from. Although I knew he was from Bihar, I was surprised when he said he belonged to Punjab. It was at that moment that I decided to speak about this irony where people in their own country were scared of revealing their true identity," explains Prakash, who painted the taxi as the first piece in the series. "This series is also meant to be a record of our time which is so turbulent," he says.

Born and brought up in Patna, Prakash finished his MBBS from Nalanda University but when he decided to fly to the US for his Ph.D, 9/11 had made it impossible for him to get a visa. Prakash is now a product manager at Career Launcher in Delhi. Although this is not the first time that Prakash has exhibited his art, it is his first stint with the political genre. "As an artist I feel responsible to react quickly to such issues and speak through my creativity," adds Prakash. With all flat colours, his works are bright and vibrant with red and black being the most prominent in the palette. His second series will include paintings on xenophobia abroad while the final series will capture the mindscape of those who hate through semi-abstract installations.

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