All roads led to the exhibition on the Secrets from the Scarecrow on brief encounters in Cubbon Park in the first week of November at the Venkatappa art Gallery on Cubbon Road. The exhibition was held by Maraa, a media and arts collective based in Bangalore .
A myriad of colourfully dressed, interestingly crafted and hand painted scarecrows were on display waiting to greet at the exhibition.
Maraa chose to use this medium to reach out to the public by using scarecrows as a way to get people to communicate their varied experiences and therefore got these personally handcrafted by some of the users of Cubbon park using hay, old cloth and other waste material. The scarecrows came alive from different people embodying their memories, fantasies, desires and hidden secrets of the park.
Amongst the characters that were there the journey leads to meeting some of them.
We start of by meeting Laal bathi, a young girl who is an ardent admirer of the moon. Laal and the moon fall in love with each other and she spends countless days and endless nights looking at it, admiring it and and growing in the solace of it.
Then comes Afifa a little girl scarecrow who was made by another young lady who had an encounter with her one day where she helped Afifa; the girl who helped her thereafter couldn’t get over her for years all together and now has re incarnated the girl she met who remains a pleasant memory for her .
Stray dogs made of hay were interestingly and articulately curated; there was a traditional couple made by a few boys from Hassan dressed up in conservative Indian attire. The boys were of the opinion that they preferred couples particularly the girl to be traditional, shy and of the old school of thought and appropriately dressed and their depiction was accurate.
The photographer Daniel was another character one connected with. He had a story behind him where he used to constantly click pictures, shutterbug that he was but never got any thing into print. He just took a whole lot of his films and buried them safely at some corner of the park; his secret treasures lie there.
The transgender Harsih Nanda Kumar, said the curator, was made by some others for whom the park was a place of solitude, love and immense freedom and needless to say irreplaceable joy.
Celeny from England, wanted to fight the stereotype and therefore put together a compulsive alcoholic who couldn’t be bothered about what life had to offer.
There was an artist who is unfortunately epileptic, but with all his limitations managed to put together some vivid imaginations with his palate of colours and Selvam a transgender male finds acceptance and connections in the park too. Then, there was this stuck up and up tight manager who was always trying to do his duty right.
There was a transgender who was a carpenter by day and a sex worker by night. How horrible was his plight after having been raped a couple of times, yet the law claims that in his case a rape is not a crime at all but should be taken as part of life .
We have a pervert waiting and wanting to be noticed by every passer – by, particularly the pretty damsels in distress. Here then and gone now is an imaginary woman in the park who wants to be none other than a horse, timeless and limitless as it gallops across.
Lovers Sangeetha and Arjun were torn apart and so were Saad and his lover who were separated because of their castes.
To add some colour to the riot that already existed was the vendor who sold colourful goodies on some carts.
There were story tellers with fascinating fortunes waiting for their catch and the cop of a nearby station Vijay who dresses up like Salman Khan from Dabangg.
The lawyers were made to look like they just came around the corner from the nearby High Court for a smoke. Finally, dream girl Sandra seen floating in the air was every man’s fantasy and was made by some who felt she embodied what was the ideal girl to them, somebody in silk and satin and thrilling to be with.
Fatima ji was a painful depiction of a senior prostitute and sex worker. The wrinkles and frowns on her face showed such an angry and blank look; as if she has forgotten what it was to live a happy life again. Having lost most of her dignity and innocence in the flesh trade she had nothing more to give, not even a smile.
A sad little girl was represented by a scarecrow who had left this world for a better place as she was molested constantly, while her mother was away at her sex trade.
“This very realistic depiction of scarecrows in the park was meant to be done to showcase the concept of public spaces and how important they are ” said the Curator Shruthi.