In these columns we feature works of distinguished artists and lens persons. This week we feature multi-talented artist Vijay S. Jodha.
Vijay S. Jodha is an artist based in Gurgaon. He uses a variety of mediums to express his creativity and his projects have been presented at galleries, museums and festivals worldwide. Three decades ago he helped set up India’s very first international artist retreat for Sanskriti Foundation that has since served as a resource centre for thousands of artists from around the world. His work covers a gamut of subjects such as a multi-media exhibition and a cinematic exploration of concept of time for India’s premier arts institution IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts).
Over the years Vijay has also directed a variety of films dealing with fine art such as biographies on important Indian artists like Paritosh Sen, Prokash Karmakar and seminal artist collectives like the Calcutta Group and Chola Mandal Chennai. He has also made an eight part documentary series for NDTV and IGNCA on representation of the human body in Indian art.
One of Vijay’s projects focused on the Indian flag for which he photographed in various parts of India as well as interviewed a cross-section of India ranging from Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to people selling flags at the traffic lights. All of India’s eminent photographers like Raghu Rai, T.S. Satyan, Dayanita Singh and Avinash Pasricha contributed to this unique project. This artist project was listed in Limca Book of Records and Vijay was invited to curate an exhibition on the same theme at Nehru Centre, London in 2007 to mark 60 years of India’s independence.
Vijay’s work has received over 70 honours worldwide including seventeen best film/director awards. His collaborative photography project Through the Looking Glass was described by The New York Times as “a beautiful series.” It was seen at Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Institut Valencia d’Art Modern Spain and Minneapolis Museum of Art among other venues.
One of Vijay’s on-going art projects – Most of My Heroes, deals with the issue of mob violence. He has produced large size digital paintings of some of the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom and then turned them into giant postage stamps. “Stamps are preserve of the famous and the powerful,” he says, “my project subverts that idea by presenting images of the powerless and forgotten victims. The zero on each stamp denotes the zero value that our society attaches to such victims of mass violence.”
As an artist, aesthetic concerns are important for Vijay. But he also feels that non-aesthetic concerns such as social issues are important that consciously or unconsciously appear in one’s work. As he puts it, “ the choice of responding to his larger environment is really for the artists. Some do, some don’t. But to be alive to these concerns, have the ability to respond and yet hold oneself back – to me that seems like a failure both as an artist and as a human being.”
Most of My Heroes