'Kitsch', Popular Culture and a Kettle.

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by Aarohi Singh on Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Section
Design

Session type
Q&A

Technical level
Intermediate

Objective

To have an open ended discussion on what constitutes 'kitsch' and popular culture in contemporary art in the Indian sub continent.
An understanding of an artists process of creation and ideation using (in this case) 'kitsch' as a medium.

Description

'Kitsch' is all pervasive today. However it is misunderstood and maligned for no fault of it's own. The terminology is used to describe everything 'new age but rooted in tradition' only because an artist might use bright popular motifs to describe their inner thought process. The difference between the use of popular culture as a starting point in a creative thought vs it's use in commercialized/ mass produced objects.

Requirements

An open mind.

Speaker bio

Aarohi Singh has never seen things in black and white. Perhaps it is because of her education – she got a Masters in History, and history has more shades of grey than perhaps any other subject. Or perhaps it is because of her upbringing as an Air Force Officer’s daughter, which exposed her to the varied and cosmopolitan hues of life in the armed forces. Or maybe it is just the fact that she has never had her unique vision and aesthetic manipulated by a formal education in art.
Like India, Aarohi’s work defies and resists pigeonholing. She does not limit herself to any one kind of canvas – apart from paper and fabric, she has painted on walls, lamps, kettles, furniture and automobiles. Neither does she prefer one kind of medium over another, expressing herself as felicitously in watercolours as she does in oils, pastels, pen and ink, papier mache, and mixed media. Her themes are as varied as her interests – landscapes, portraits, nazar-battoos, Hindu gods, Bollywood, the Kama Sutra, and once, even a T-Rex!
A thinking artist, very seldom does she create art for art’s sake – her art usually expresses a strong idea or carries an underlying message, and is often a response to what is happening in the world around her. Her Gandhi vs Gandhian kettle, for instance, which featured Anna Hazare and Sonia Gandhi, was chosen as Bangalore’s artistic contribution to the fight against corruption, and was presented to Mr. Hazare himself.