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For the love of hoardings

Baroda-based artist Kaushik Saha took inspiration from hoardings and paid a tribute to those who make them.

Kaushik Saha stands in front of his artwork 'Black horizon'.

Kaushik Saha likes collecting stainless steel and brass nails, re-used rubber tubes of old bicycle tires and discarded tin sheets. He isn’t a scrap worker but an artist who uses these materials to create abstract art. His latest work us inspired by hoardings that display advertisements on the streets.

But the Baroda-based artist does not celebrate the featured content. His work is inspired by the people who earn their livelihood by doing the behind-the-scenes jobs, such as carpenters, welders, painters and other staff.

“I am not celebrating advertisements that are displayed on hoardings but the efforts of those people who work tirelessly to make hoardings. These people generally live below the social and economic pyramid. They are often ignored despite the fact that they put their best foot forward in creating such spaces,” he explains.

His latest artwork, titled ‘Black horizon’, is a take on industrialisation. He feels that hoardings only feature expensive items.

“We rarely see a poor person featured in hoardings. Only those products/services that have a higher price get displayed,” he says.

So, the artist has celebrated the lives of the unsung heroes that work behind the scenes (to make hoardings). That is why, he materials chose only those materials as the core ingredients that establish a relationship with the people featured in the art.

For instance, the artist has used nails to represent the migrated people. “We saw the workforce migrate from cities to villages during the pandemic. If you’ll look closely (he says while pointing at the art), from a bird’s eye, these nails look like the heads of the migrated people,” he explains.

He has also used tubes of old bicycle tires as the base. “By this, I am referring to those communities who commute via cycles. They are generally the ones, who fall under the bracket of economically weaker sections, whose annual incomes are below INR 10,000,” he adds.

Similarly, the metal part in the art has been taken as is from the hoardings after they were discarded.

But why call the work ‘Black horizon’? According to the artist, the title carries a deeper and darker meaning.

“Horizon is a place where sky and earth appears to meet. But due to increasing number of hoardings, people are unable to see the sky and the nature when the sun bows down. I feel that a day would come when people will only see darkness instead of the sky, as hoardings are increasing in cities. That’s why I called the work ‘Black horizon’,” he shares.

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