Indian artist Anirban Mishra dives deep into the loss, the pain and the fears spread by the present pandemic, vividly expressing them in his recent work.
Every 100 years or so, our world is affected by a violent disease which becomes an epidemic. In this present time, the novel Coronavirus is the big epidemic in the world, which started to spread in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Then it affected the whole world very quickly.
This epidemic has not only affected health and population; it has affected our social and economical conditions. This precious time is very critical to handle for everybody. It will be taking its part in world history. As an artist, I tried to represent this situation through my work. The violent nature of this epidemic is not less than a world war, but is more than this. In a very short time, the epidemic transforms the world’s condition to another place. A huge number of people died, some families are isolated from society. Still no vaccine has been discovered. Now we can cure only one way, that is social distance. Governments announced complete lockdown in most of the countries in the world to create social distance. A record in world history.
My previous works are related to alienation in society, now highly increased. Huge numbers of people are dying in this epidemic. Somebody lost their family, somebody lost their lover, and many people have fallen into deep sorrow and faced deep anxiety.
I lost You
I lost You! ! !
Oh God I lost him !!!
You went from me...
I felt into a deep
‘I Lost You’ is a painting that represents the sorrow and anxiety of a family for the death of one member. They feel pain to have lost their closest one. I used exaggerated figures which help me to represent the expression of the family members who fell into deep anxiety. The central character of the composition is laying down on the bed and his death represents the violent epidemic. The standing figures are represented in different postures, showing the character of painful expressions. The fine and simplified lines show the expressive quality of the drawing. Ink and charcoal are the main mediums in this work. The Coronavirus is a most critical disease, which is destroying the social structure. Every day the number of deaths increases and the number of affected people is growing.
This disease is showing a violent character of its own. It’s like our whole world will be covered by this epidemic one day. In this painting, I used monochromatic colors and the black color in the sky to represent the Dark Age. If this epidemic never stops, then the whole world will be destroyed.
In this painting, only three people are standing on a lonely vast land. They are alienated in the world. The background of the painting shows the dark world, which is lonely. It is as if only these three people are still living in the world and the whole world has become a death valley. These people can be created into a new world, which is the transformation of one world to another world.
The novel Coronavirus has become an epidemic. Still, no vaccine has been discovered to prevent the disease. To cure it, affected people need to stay in an isolation. People are scared to live alone, and are also scared to be isolated from society.
In 'A Man with His Pet', a man stays in an isolation room with his loved pet. He is isolated from society. The expression of the character represents pain and anxiety. It’s very difficult to stay alone and isolated for a long time. Bu in the present time people are scared to live.
To prevent the spread of the disease, the governments of many countries and cities announced a complete lockdown, requiring social distancing, which is considered the only way to prevent the disease. This kind of lockdown has never happened in the past. Cities and streets look different. We are all isolated from social contact. The cities and their streets become lonely. People should avoid coming to the streets, but some are not responding properly. They come out of their homes and break the lockdown regulation. The situation can become critical, since it can increase the possibilities of affecting more people. Lockdown in this painting represents a night view of city life. The city is completely locked down, but two people are standing in the street. They feel depressed from social isolation. Their expressions represent anxiety. Standing alone in the street, they see the alienated city. Modern city life can be so alienating.
I am inspired by Egon Schiele, Anselm Kiefer, Edvard Munch, Jackson Pollock, and many other artists. I always try to create my own language. Sometimes my works show the inspiration from these artists.
In these epidemic times, social gathering is the most problematic. People are trying to understand. Lots of people are gathered in the streets and in the market, which increases the possibility of affecting more and more people. Houses are standing in the background of this painting. In the village area and the foreground a group of people are gathered, and a dog is among them.The total composition represents society.
The exaggerated figures and lines help us to understand the breakdown. This exaggerated lines increase this quality in the drawing. The expressions of people who are standing in the street not only represent gathering, but represent the inner scary character of the human mind, which they are communicating to each other.
The impact of the coronavirus on people’s lives and on economic, social and global relations, both now and in the future, is likely to be more far-reaching than any other previous public-health crisis. Not even during the First World War or the Second World War did governments feel the need to close schools. Society is most affected by this epidemic. In 'Social breakdown' I tried to represent the present social condition. This work has been realized with acrylic color and charcoal, basically mixed media on paper. The colors are applied in multilayers. Each layer represents memory and time. Figures are the central element. We can easily understand, by looking at this painting, that it represents a society. Some people are standing in the street and one person has already died. One person hugs the dead body of the man and falls into deep sorrow. The dead man was obviously very close to these people, and they feel pain. Again people are represented with exaggerated forms and lines, showing the breakdown of the society.
The next two paintings are very similar. In them I tried to show the lockdown situation.
Everybody in our society is now scared of the Coronavirus pandemic. All people are scared of death and loss. This painting represents the fear of death and the social condition in the present time. People here do not represent a social gathering. They are juxtaposed to represent society. Their facial expressions represent the fear, anxiety and pain of someone’s death. The flowers also become colorless, indicating the sadness and the uncomfortable situation. The background of the painting is also monochromatic and dark, to represent the dramatic situation. The whole painting uses exaggerated lines, which are very significant, to create distorted figures. Thorn wires are partially covering the bodies, conveying the meaning that people are suffering and living their life with troubles.
The government is telling everyone to stay at home, to stop face-to-face socializing, to stop all non- essential journeys, and to limit our movement to activities like going out to the nearest shop for food and one form of exercise a day. In addition, as announced by the government, you must also stay away from anyone outside your immediate household to stop the virus being spread from one household to another. This advice means that, unless you have sex with someone within your household, it’s important to find sexual pleasure in other ways. Despite the situation with COVID-19, we need to remember that sex is an important part of life, but right now we have to find other ways to achieve sexual pleasure and satisfaction.
But people do not care about the rules and are more committed to each other. Erotic sentiments are mostly increased in this time and they are expressed sexually. 'The lovers' shows lovers holding each other. They are trying to communicate sexually. The figures are exaggerated, showing the anxiety of human minds in times of social distancing. The two faces are covered by cloths, like protective masks, but they have sex to get sexual pleasure. The background of this painting represents the corner of the room. Their expressions show sexual pleasure. Thorn wires represent the boundaries and the lockdown situation of this time. ‘The Lovers’ by Rene Magritte was the inspiration for this work.
The painting ‘Lovers in Garden’ shows lovers who are committed to each other. They are holding each other. They are standing in the garden. The garden looks like it is burned, and full of thorn wires. The sky is browned, to show damaged and rusty nature. This is very much connected to human emotions and the power of intimacy strongly connected to lovers.
The figures are exaggerated, like exaggerated is our present condition. The blue color, appearing in the sky, represents emotions, in this case the pleasure and emotions of sexual attachment.
In this critical time, the government announced the lockdown to stop the spreading Coronavirus. Economic conditions are breaking down. Lower-class people are mostly affected. They have no income and are suffering to live their life. They have no proper shelter to stay safe. They have family and are scared for their families. They try to collect money to buy food, but they can’t. In the painting ‘Economical Breakdown’, a man is standing on the road to sell balloons. There are no other people on the road to buy them, but the man is standing hopefully to sell the balloons to earn money. The body skeleton comes out from his body, showing the man suffering to live his life and that he is hungry.
The present time is very difficult, making history in the future. I've done some works which are related to the present time. These works are part of a series. It's an ongoing process.
I was born in Tamluk, West Bengal in 1995. I am a landscape painter. My works do not only represent natural beauty, but also represent more than what we see; social condition, human emotions, and the alienated society in modern times. I always experiment with different materials; it's more challenging for me to create experimental conceptual art.
In 2017, I graduated in Painting from the Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship. In 2019, I completed my post graduate degree in Painting from S. N. School Of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad.
I have exhibited my works in several exhibitions in India. I received the all India best-exhibition award in painting and in 2019 I was selected as an emerging artist in India.