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Rickshaw Pullers Felicitated At Photo Exhibition In Kolkata

The rickshaw pullers had their moments under the sun as they were given t-shirts, served blueberry cakes, and introduced to celebrities like actors Om Puri and Swastika Mukherjee.

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  • Part of a big project “Stone – Being and Becoming”, the 14-day exhibition that began on Friday, showcases 15 freeze shots of the hand-pulled rickshaw.
  • The rickshaw pullers had their moments under the sun as they were given t-shirts, served blueberry cakes, and introduced to celebrities like actors Om Puri and Swastika Mukherjee.
  • The hand pulled rickshaw has been a medium of conveyance in the city since 1914, three years after the national capital was shifted to Delhi from Kolkata.

KOLKATA: Part of a big project “Stone – Being and Becoming”, the 14-day exhibition that began on Friday, showcases 15 freeze shots of the slow-moving but environmental-friendly vehicles, which run through large parts of the eastern metropolis carrying passengers.These hand-pulled rickshaw, which has through the decades emerged as a symbol of Kolkata despite facing threats to its existence in an age of speed and mechanised transport, is the cynosure of all eyes in an ongoing photo exhibition depicting the trials and tribulations of the pullers.

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Clicked by Rajesh Gupta, an eye-catching photo captures a wheel of the rickshaw and the tired feet of a puller apparently resting on the vehicle.Another frame in black and white presents a row of rickshaws against the background of a desolate house enveloped by the gigantic roots of what could be an unseen grand old banyan tree.A third photo contains a melancholy portrait of a rickshaw puller sitting on the footrest of his vehicle with an intense gaze.
With some of the photographs bringing out the lonely existence of rickshaw pullers, Gupta said: “While interacting with them I realized that they don’t have any dream. They are forced to stay within their circle. Even if they want to come out of that circle, they can’t.”
Forty two of the rickshaw pullers were felicitated on Sunday at the exhibition venue – Harrington Street Art gallery.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The rickshaw pullers had their moments under the sun as they were given t-shirts, served blueberry cakes, and introduced to celebrities like actors Om Puri and Swastika Mukherjee. “Rickshaw pullers are intrinsic to Kolkata. Memorabilia, t-shirts everything talks about them. We wanted to glorify the real heroes of the city,” said photographer Kounteya Sinha, one of the key persons in the project.Om Puri, who once played the role of a rickshaw puller in Roland Joffe’s “City of Joy”, said: “Kolkata’s iconic rickshaw, which is part of its history, should never die.””In monsoons when the streets are flooded, rickshaws become the only mode of transportation” he said. Puri added that like Hong Kong, Kolkata should also make rickshaws a tourist attraction and allow them to function in limited parts of the city where they don’t cause hindrance to the traffic.

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The hand pulled rickshaw has been a medium of conveyance in the city since 1914, three years after the national capital was shifted to Delhi from Kolkata. Few years back the West Bengal government brought a proposal to ban rickshaws. But in the face of tremendous opposition from green activists, civil society and heritage experts, the decision was taken back.(Source: IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    This exhibition will prove boon to these rikshaw pullers to get their business back.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    hats off to these rickshaw pullers, they chose to work hard and get money rather than those beggars who wish to get paid without any kind of hardwork

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Artist Renuka Rajiv Takes on Society, Gender Through Personal Narrative

Rajiv, who narrates not verbally but visually, says the "need for the visual arises from a need to communicate, but this need to communicate remains outside the realm of verbal languages."

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Rajiv described the prints as a "cathartic series" made while living in Melbourne. Flickr Commons

Exhibiting the interplay between words and visuals, a solo show by artist Renuka Rajiv critically chronicles and comments on matters of sexuality, gender, physicality and notions of family and relationships via personal narratives.

“The Future Is Not My Gender” is a multidisciplinary exhibition, showing different renditions of fabric and paper using drawings, paper mache, tie-dye and embroidery.

It is on at the Vahdera Art Gallery here till August 18.

It includes a large body of textile and embroidery works, sculptures, and twenty four monotypes selected from a larger series of three hundred prints.

The fabric works are mostly made with old garments of the artist’s family and friends.

Artist
“The Future Is Not My Gender” is a multidisciplinary exhibition. Flickr Common

“This is a moment in a long-term exploration of expressing the aspects of my reality that are outside the material world,” the Bengaluru-based artist said about the exhibition.

Rajiv described the prints as a “cathartic series” made while living in Melbourne.

Some drawings also weave visuals with verbal interjections — sharp observations around gender and sexuality within the larger social context.

“With a strong inclination towards the spontaneously created “hand-made” works, the exhibition accommodates the imaginative, observational and autobiographical,” Vahdera Art Gallery said in a statement.

Rajiv, who narrates not verbally but visually, says the “need for the visual arises from a need to communicate, but this need to communicate remains outside the realm of verbal languages”.

Also Read: US Painted in New Colours By a Refugee Artist

Rajiv was the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award (EAA) 2016, awarded by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) in collaboration with Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.

The exhibition is a culmination of the award process including a three-month residency in Switzerland in 2017. (IANS)