Mixed media artist Gopa Roy discusses her recent series concerned with issues of migration in India during times of the pandemic. Inspired by local landscapes and people, as well as organic materials, her work is propelled by perplexing questions and humanitarian concerns.
I usually work with the landscape, creating land art, geographically embracing nature, as well as the people who are involved in it. I am interested in how people live and perform day-to-day activities within the environment. Thus my ‘Journey of the Passer-by’ is about the toil of the migrant workers residing and earning their living in different parts of India.
Today we can see how contagion, spreading from one person to another, has caused a pandemic around the world. This consequential issue and the vulnerability of the current situation is a focus for my work in this series. It emphasizes the migrants’ situation with issues of losing jobs and shelter--fighting for the sustenance of life. They are walking along the roads, with different means and the aim of finding home, to feel safe. Though they started their journey with hope and custody of a safe home: Is it still there? Are they going to face more consequences after they reach their destination? Are more challenges in life waiting for them? These questions were hammering my mind, and these queries were taken up in this series.
In my work I have tried to show the journey of the common man through the change of time, space, and land. Therein, this entire process in quarantine leads me to the collection of materials from my surroundings for use in this work. I use natural fibres from vegetables, fruits, jute, hay, etc. I explore different shapes and sizes, initiated and enhanced by my own reflective thoughts. Hence, the shift in physical form came from consideration of the current situation and its profound impact on the lives we are living.
Artwork Medium: Straw Pulp, Fruits & Vegetables fiber, dry leaf, jute, gi wire ink & watercolor.