• Abbas A Malakar

Human Condition

Ink on Paper

I believe I am responsible for the images that I create. Everyone is whether they want to be or not. All images have a purpose. An artist should understand the full extent of the implications of the images they create. Be it political, social or interpersonal implications. Ideally an artist should be conscious of their responsibilities. The time for “art for art’s sake” is gone. The world needs artists to take charge. I can say that, through every single one of my works, I try to discern exactly what my responsibility is to my community.

Abstract compositions came naturally to me. As a child I was obsessed with abstract and expressionist works. I was creating hundreds of abstract drawings and paintings. I drew every day. Some turned out to be very good. Most were revolting. Whatever the result, their meanings soon started to fade away. I simply did what at that moment I felt like doing. If I felt happy I did something to show it, if I was sad then something different. None of them held much weight to me. They were hardly more than doodles by the end.

About a year ago when I first entered college a lot of things started to change. Chief among these was the expansion of my friend circle. I was exposed to a world outside Kolkata. I also took a heavier interest in politics. The source of my inspirations was bound to change. So it did and with it my mode of representation. My works were already in a process of slow growth and transformation. I stopped completely for a month. No drawings. No sketches. Then suddenly all I could draw were humanoid figures, animals and forms you can vaguely discern as trees. This transition from minimalist and abstract expressionist visual ramblings to exclusively contorted, crippled and “undesirable” humanoid forms was born from a genuine desire- a desire to depict the human condition. At that point though, I was completely oblivious of this.

Ink on Paper

The change was not in any way a conscious one. As I draw more and more every day the reasons for this change become clearer. It is because of the immense amount of pain and suffering I see all around me. The poverty, fear, hunger and helplessness. Then the anger, hatred, frustration and violence that rises from it. No matter how much we try, we keep coming back to the same problems. Over and over. This crisis does not need to be Googled. It is everywhere- the streets, the movies, the news, our homes and even within us. It is in our speech, movements and our postures. It is in our lifestyle and thought process.

My drawings now are a result of me trying to depict this very crisis around us through the characters I portray. They are my way of representing my pain and that of those I see throughout the city. With these works I can proudly say that I have finally been able to grasp, ever so slightly, the modes of representation I should be striving to achieve in my drawings.

Ink on Paper/Postcard

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