Poetic Resistance | Art

India Today Magazine

For her immersive sound installation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, artist Shilpa Gupta incorporates poems by Allen Ginsberg and 100 jailed poets to create a landscape of sheets of paper, microphones, memories, desires and oppression. Entering a darkened room, you strain to hear a whispered snatch of verse: "And be kind to the poor soul that cries in a crack of the pavement because he has no body...". This is followed by another speaker. "Where is love? Outside this world?" She spoke about the installation to Chinki Sinha.


Q: How did you select 100 poets for this project?

A: This work emerges from another project, 'Someone Else, 100 books written anonymously and under pseudonyms'. During the research, I found out that one of my favourite authors, Premchand's, books were burnt and he had to deal with impositions by the regime, including being charged with sedition (a word that one thought had gone out of usage, until we recently started hearing it again). I also came across Aziz Nesin, who had challenged the right wing and their violence against him and Voltaire, who spent time in prison. [This resonated with] the changing atmosphere in India today that has turned restrictive, with liberal thinkers, writers and filmmakers being targeted.

11 January 2019