- One thing that we haven't addressed in your OVR
is your collective art practice. How do you see the role of art in raising awareness and advocating for social change, and how does your work contribute to this dialogue?
Gopa - Your question indeed touches on a crucial aspect of my artistic endeavours. The primary goal of my work is to resonate with the environments and communities I engage with. It is a means for people to embrace the work, interpret it through their perspectives, and cultivate meaningful connections. Societal responses hold profound significance in shaping the impact of my art.
A notable example is "SECURE (UN) SECURE," a land art project in my native village, designed to shed light on the diminishing agricultural lands. It addresses the encroachment of rubber plantations, posing environmental and health hazards, contributing to climate change. Beyond awareness, the project endeavours to foster connections among farmers and villagers, involving them in the cultivation of paddy, pulse, rubber, scrap, seed, bamboo, and straw.
Another collaborative endeavour, "Patched by either side," involved working with village women in Rangutia. This collective art, a hand-stitched quilt, aimed to revive the village's once-renowned hand-stitching tradition. It became a platform for women to stitch together childhood memories, unveiling untold stories of migration from Bangladesh during the 1971 riots.
Recently, a workshop organized by Artreach India at Loka School in Bihar exemplifies my commitment to community engagement. Conducting a 7-day workshop on handmade paper, the focus was not only on creating but also on fostering an ecological connection among village children. The aim was to instill awareness about crafting useful items without contributing to environmental pollution, utilizing materials readily available in their surroundings.
In essence, my artistic practice extends beyond individual expression to actively engaging communities, raising awareness, and building connections that transcend the boundaries of art and reach into the fabric of everyday life.