We’re in the 21st century and we are still struggling to break free from stereotypes, fighting for liberty, wandering around in search of acceptance and begging the judiciary for equality. This is 2015 where people are continuously running after progress and development, which in itself is a good news. But when are they going to develop their minds? I am talking about the openness that is demanded by some people and is ignored some members of society. An artist who wants to be anonymous pasted posters of couples kissing each other and then talked about the reaction he noticed and his reason behind this step. According to him if the free space available on and around the walls can attract garbage, political posters and many other unnecessary things that are being neglected from a long time. Then why can’t his posters take a little space?
When did this idea come to him?
He had been working on this project for over a year. All the pictures he took were in the knowledge of the people who posed in them. “There is an idea that Indians can’t do something like this,” the artist said. “But except for one couple in the stickers, all the people in the images are Indians.” His photographs are diverse and has many kinds of couples; some are married, some are engaged and everyone is just showing the affection between them. He said he is using PDA [public displays of affection] to draw attention to hypocrisy and our indifference to things that are actually in decay. “India’s morals are fine, I’m sure,” he says.
What were the reactions he noticed?
He roamed the streets to notice people’s reactions, which was the second part of his project. As per his observation, people showed their anger and said that this is wrong because kids, women and old people will see it. They tried complaining about it. In areas like tea and cigarette shops or lavatories, his posters remained up for a longer time. Privileged areas like Pali hills got clear fast than less privileged ones like areas near the Bandra station. What was the most surprising part of the project?
He said the whole observation procedure wasn’t shocking as he himself was expecting a negative response. As this is a nation where people can take obscene promotional posters of movies objectifying women but they just cannot agree with the idea of showing affection in public. The most shocking part was when a poster of a homosexual couple was removed with speed whereas a kissing picture of straight couples remained up for long. Judiciary passed Act 377 and then removed it. But actually they should not bother to interfere if they call India a democratic nation.
What are his future plans?
Yes, he wants to take this further. He wants to extend this project to other parts of the city, possibly with the help of strangers, to see where the posters will stay or not and till how long. The artist belongs to a small group called Limit Within.
“We won’t know how people will react to the posters until we try,” the artist said. “We want to move this beyond the few of us who are involved now. That’s why we want people to write in, pick up the stickers.” What are our thoughts regarding his project?
Well as they say it’s a democratic nation and somebody has to raise his/her voice for a cause. We wish him good luck for his plans and project. Hope he and his team will come up with some more creative projects. Creativity is not just an art, it is a medium to express your inner soul. We want more people like him to voice their thoughts. And people who are in favor of his project and want to be a part of it can write to him.