Wednesday, February 10, 2010


‘Introspection of the human nature’ is how we can recapitulate ‘Mask’, an installation by the Grey Black group at Kala Ghoda festival, 2010. As one enters the festival through the main gate (opposite to the David Sussun library) they will not miss the colour full mask wall. There are more than 150 masks, hanging on a black cloth wall. The masks are colourful and vibrant. Each mask different from the other, yet look so similar. The wall replicates our world and the masks tell us something about our own selves. The theme is very interesting as the meaning will differ from person. As the saying goes, ‘beauty holds in the eyes of beholder’, here it is something like, ‘meaning holds in the self of the spectator’.

The new version of saying is proved when one interacts with a few viewers standing there. Shahid, a third year student says, “For me, the masks symbolises human nature. Each one of us hides its original face from others. They wear the mask that suites the occasion.” While on the other hand Riya, a housewife, said, “For me the masks suggest that how we cover our real beauty behind tons of makeup in order to look beautiful according to the norms set by others.” Talking with two different people coming from various backgrounds gives us an idea about how one looks at the installation. It is not propagating any cause, but it makes one look within his/her own self and question themselves about how many masks do they wear?

If the installation is so engaging, then the artist would have defiantly put in so much of efforts to build this concept. But here, there is not just one artist on work. It is a joint effort by a group called Grey Black. It consists of four artists namely, Yuvraj, Deepali, Rishi and Santosh. Rishi was available on the venue interacting with people and solving their queries. On asking him about the concept, he gave a surprising answer. He said, “The masks are based on various ‘Rashis’. Even when we meet someone for the first time, we ask them what their sunsign is! Or at times we say that XYZ is an Aries, this is their common traits. So we classify people and categories them according to the Rashis or Sunsigns.” On telling him that various people can associate philosophical as well as psychological meanings out of the installation, he said, “We have not made it with just one perspective. Rashis is the basic theme on which we have worked, but the subject itself has so many different perspective that it is bound to happen.” He also added, “I am very happy that the installation makes people think and not just admire it.”

But even the artist wears a mask when questioned, “Why did you choose Rashis as your theme?” He smiles sheepishly and says, “When we make things based on Rashis, they sell. People find some reason to buy them and not just admire them.”

The installation is truly unique as the masks have not even spared their makers. Though they are artists, educated from the famous JJ School of Arts, even they cannot avoid the monitory factor. The point made by Rishi needs some serious thinking, he said, “money has become a driving force in everybody’s life. Whether it is an artist or a non artist, they need money to survive. It depends on the artist whether he can survive by a few good words written by the critique about his art without taking into consideration the monitory aspect.”

Masks and more masks… the world is full of them… masks made of flesh and blood… without any emotions… Masks and all the more masks…

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