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Parag Natekar



Education 2005 Post Graduate in Animation Film Design, National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India 1997 B.F.A, Applied Arts, Abhinav Kala Mahavidhyalaya, Pune, India Achievements 2004 Week with the masters, Trivandrum, best comedy film for “Bheeru no 1” 2004 Indian documentary pictures association IDPA silver trophy for best animation film 2002 Commgraph, Singapore, Merit certificate for the film “Bheeru no1″ 2002 Ibda’a award 2002, Dubai, winner of best animation film “Bheeru no1″ 1996 CEAD Communication Circle award for the best-illustrated campaign of the year (students category) 1995 Symbiosis Art Society Award for best Landscaping 1994 State Art Merit Certificate, State Art Exhibition 1992/93 First class first in the state, Maharashtra board (Foundation course) Solo Exhibitions 2010 ”Parag Natekar Solo Show”, Coromandel Art Gallery, Pondicherry 2007 Solo show at Ashvita Art Gallery, Chennai 2000 Pradarshak Art Gallery, Bombay, India Selected Exhibitions 2010 “3 Emerging Artists”, Coromandel Art Gallery, Pondicherry, India 2007 Ashvita Art Gallery, Chennai, India 2007 ”Gestures” Online Exhibition at Visions Arts 1999 Nehru Center, Bombay, India 1997 Nag Foundation, Pune, India 1996 Town & Country, Pune, India 1995 Exhibition and Competition, Selection, The Bombay Art Society, Bombay, India 1994 Exhibition and Competition, Selection, The Maharshtra State Art Competition, India Red edges of a Blue-Chip One eye will see blue, another red. That’s what typically most of us have thought of, when we saw the ‘3D Glasses’ as kids. Those who did think so, might have also looked sideways, beyond the so-called 3D comic book, with these funky-looking goggles that accompanied the book. As grown-ups, can we do the same trick without those 3D glasses now? Can we look at the mis-registrations within the economy without the help of some visual aid? Remember the ghastly look of an anaglyph image, if seen with a naked eye. The daily newspaper almost apes it in letter and spirit. There are stories that promise us a higher GDP and PCI with the announcement of newer SEZs (Special Economic Zones), and there are other news items that tell about some ongoing protests, pushing us to think if the gross domestic product or the per capita income statistics is sane. Parag Natekar’s paintings magnify this mis-registration within the reality we live in. They ask who, which section of the society is made to carry their own ghost image. In one work, a panel of eight paintings, these men and women are holding banners and placards to demand justice for the victims of lethargy by the then Union Carbide (Dow chemicals). The mirror drags the viewer in the centre of this mis-representation business. Other works in this suite of 18 works annotate the ruptures and divides in the socio-economic structure. The ‘violence of development’, a term much in currency in the late eighties, is almost forgotten now. Parag doesn’t take sides about this clichéd phrase, and he takes on to interrogate the cautionary warning that entails an equal anticipation of violence. ‘Stay out of the swing area’, one of the key works in this show says, in which a big machine rules the land and the people and animal are pushed and bounded to the margins. These marginalized commoners, tigers and dogs alike, are already stripped of their realistic representation and are left with a mis-registered ghost image. While the margins populate a confused lot, a woman with a gun is a disturbing sight within the margins. The protest she suggests is at once shrewd and naïve, much like herself. Parag takes closer looks at the machine, tries to imagine what it digs and on whose face is the lethal drill activated. These closer pictures also introduce a cheerleader- as if rejoicing the absence of any possible protests. Parag finds less violent images of protest, and constitutes them as the subject matter of three portraits. At the centre of these silent protestors is Irom Sharmila, a girl who took fast unto death since 2000, in a hope to make the state to step back and repeal a law that relegates civil areas to an army with special and enormous power. Sharmila’s protest, to many who might agree with her opposition to this draconic law, is a hopeless self-torture leading to death, as the form she chose does not assure victory. A more pessimistic account would hold Sharmila, who retains her breath only with medical support, metaphorically akin to the photo of a Bhopal victim by Raghu Rai. In this photo, circa …. , a dead toddler being buried has his eyes wide open. ‘I will be dead but my eyes will be open’ sounds like the rhetoric Sharmila lives with. Her protest, notably, started almost without an informed discussion about its form or rhetoric. It began as a refusal to un-warranted arrest and death, and then made the world open its eyes to a crisis of humanity. The third panel, a portrait of a Dantewada tribal who retains her traditional ornament that looks like a stroke of vigor around her neck, silently participates in the debate of the dead and the living, Where am I, the tribal woman would ask if it may. Each of Parag’s works that use available images, subscribes to the discourse of what is an icon. The press photographs, especially of the unknown Dantewada woman or those appropriated with the anaglyphic representation, are part of a larger unused archive, waiting for interpretations of their iconicity. It is the archive of many visual cultures that have tended to collide in Parag’s immediate surroundings over last two decades. These visuals constitute the force in the battles that Parag chooses to observe. The battle between notions of development/ tradition, compliance/protest, city/countryside, economic viability and social sacrifice… The conflicts haunt a public, which Parag attends to. The politics of representation, addressed by Parag in various ways, makes some unlikely calls for support. One painting quotes and appropriates Edward Munch’s coveted work, ‘the Scream’, and places a plough- an icon of the endangered farming practices of the Indian subcontinent, on its shoulders. In the graffiti-like text that ruptures Munch’s colours, a popular pre-Bollywood Hindi film-song with a jingoist congratulatory tone is at once questioned and mourned about. The suicides of farmers provided a death-blow to the tone in a song that proudly assimilated agricultural fields with goldmines! The text lives on, with an altered meaning. Elsewhere, similar black humor displaces a more recent catch line, perhaps trademarked by a Pizza company. The kids begging for food might be as common a sight as McDonalds or Domino’s Pizza outlets in many Asian cities, where the poor are often let on their own to invent ways of survival. *** Is Parag spoiling the resurgent mood prevalent in his region? No, as many of his works would argue, he is only cautioning against any euphoria, indulgence and deceptive tactics. On the positive side, the works call for a more open, more accommodative and more cross-referenced understanding of what happens to humans in the times of change. With this understanding Parag looks critically at the people of his age – often dubbed genNext, these twenty-somethings to thirty-somethings choose to work hard to party hard, or vice versa. Covert forms of commercial communication bulldoze the fields of intellectual activity, while a plastic nirvana beckons bewitchingly. The nirvana, perhaps, lies in keeping eyes open to see the red carpets of devastated lands while you see the blue-chip boys singing in their master’s voices. A synchronicity of vision might help, as Parag’s oeuvre advocates. – Abhijeet Tamhane, Mumbai and Delhi, winter 2011.

Parag Natekar

    • Lives and Works :
    • Mumbai
    • Education :
    • B.F.A in applied art from Abhinav Kala Mahavidhyalaya, Pune


Artist Statement

Red edges of a Blue-Chip One eye will see blue, another red. That’s what typically most of us have thought of, when we saw the ‘3D Glasses’ as kids. Those who did think so, might have also looked sideways, beyond the so-called 3D comic book, with these funky-looking goggles that accompanied the book. As grown-ups, can we do the same trick without those 3D glasses now? Can we look at the mis-registrations within the economy without the help of some visual aid? Remember the ghastly look of an
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Artist Biography

Education 2005 Post Graduate in Animation Film Design, National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India 1997 B.F.A, Applied Arts, Abhinav Kala Mahavidhyalaya, Pune, India Achievements 2004 Week with the masters, Trivandrum, best comedy film for “Bheeru no 1” 2004 Indian documentary pictures association IDPA silver trophy for best animation film 2002 Commgraph, Singapore, Merit certificate for the film “Bheeru no1″ 2002 Ibda’a award 2002, Dubai, winner of best an
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