Art performance at farmers’ protest site brings to the fore how thoughtless acts of violence mar peaceful movements

The art initiative is large in scale, size and deep in concept and contest, involves as many as 100 people, and reflects many thoughts by using a variety of mediums and materials.

For painter, sculptor, and performance artist Kulpreet Singh, the farmers’ protest sites at Tikri and Singhu have been home for more than two months now.

Poets, filmmakers, musicians have been an integral part of the movement, and as a visual artist, Kulpreet strongly felt that contemporary artists were missing from the scene of action, and he deeply believed that the participation of visual artists, to reflect the spirit and intent of the protest was paramount.

“I wanted to contribute as a visual artist and represent my community by creating a work of art that is dedicated to those have the will to fight for their rights and raise a voice against injustice, in a peaceful manner. And it was the disturbance of peace that the protest represented and was famous for internationally that made me conceive a performance art project titled, ‘Indelible Black Marks’,” explains Kulpreet, who was supported by friends financially and invested in the project personally to hire cranes, buy material etc to give it a concrete form.

The art initiative is large in scale, size and deep in concept and contest, involves as many as 100 people, and reflects many thoughts by using a variety of mediums and materials. With a white sheet that spreads over several kilometers, black marks that represent stones, the performance art depicts many thoughts, the insensitivity of the state towards its people, how one stone, one stony word can transform a peaceful movement into a riot and how when mischievous miscreants become part of the agitators and start throwing stones at the crowd, their thoughtless act darken the hearts of countless people, stains that may never go away.

“We spoke to people who have lost their loved ones to the violence and there are so many heartbreaking stories that we wanted to bring to people, and how it does not take long for both the parties to be tainted. The original objective of the fight for our rights turned into a riot. History has shown that no society has ever benefited from such activities. Through this artistic performance, I am trying to highlight the heart-rending, horrific consequences of unintentional activities and show the mirror of the results to those with a mob mentality. Even if one wakes up and changes his mind about his wrongdoings, then I will consider this art performance a success,” said Kulpreet, who has taken this performance to both the sites and also to open spaces near the villages.

Kulpreet as an artist, is not bound by any medium, for he says his medium is art, and he uses the material as per the demand of his subject. The life of people, the social and political milieu, experiences, happenings, he says, unknowingly become part of his work. “If such marks are identified in time, the re-appearance of similar dark stains on the fabric of time can be prevented in the future and this art performance is an attempt to awaken the asleep conscience of people. Wars, acts of terror on innocent people…even after decades, the inheritance of heart ache continues to be felt, generation after generation. Through such confrontation, both opposing ends become tattered and stained in no time at all. Such thoughtless misdeeds, which have heartbreaking consequences, are being highlighted through this performance. I carry the hope that someone in this crowd of stone –pelters, will find his conscience awakening and with a transformed heart, will move away from it all,” summed up Kulpreet.

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