"The imagery in my artworks continuously stems from conflicting identities in our everyday life. We are constantly made aware of many unexpected demands and consequences, changing environments pushing us to take up a new identity and reform ourselves accordingly. Discomfort leads us to care about belongings and a desire to achieve and overcome this discomfort, so we act in a certain way that is only a façade of aspired power and pleasure in a moment of anxiety. The works revolve around the ideas of dysfunctionality, socio-political conditioning, memory recall and fabrication, personal insecurities arising out of one’s circumstances and anxiety. The question about the idea of 'self-validation' while living in between various conflicting identities and how this synthesis interacts with the construction of our spaces at present are aspects I try to transmute together in my artworks through satire, with reference to popular idioms, myths and stories. The irony is a provocation of thoughts that uses humour to portray struggles and mistakes. The situational storytelling quality is a device of allowing the viewer to be absorbed by the events. This approach helps me see the viewer confront a certain reality provided by the visuals while not forcing it onto them. These settings reflect the characters’ mental states and lead to an investigative process through a selection of 'what if’s'. This also compels me to build my own narration in layers of thought with an introspective outlook. It is like a strategy to which ideas and thoughts are constantly being added and subtracted to find the right amount of effect. Humour and irony are a cogent force for me to destabilise and transform the power structures of the dominant. It perforates a hole into anxiety. My artistic process seeks to both question and play with these concerns."
- Abhishek Narayan Verma
Kautuhalshala is a Sanskrit word that translates to “A Place for Collective Discourse of Inquisitive Minds”. The artworks displayed in this section are Abhishek Narayan Verma's response to diverse situations and surroundings, tracing their conflicts and the absurdities in which we are living. It is also a place where the artist can freely act out his creativity, experiment and engage with different processes. By entering the Kautuhalshala, the participants' expressions and exchange of thoughts create a chance for another discourse.