Delhi-based artist Pradosh Swain’s 20 surreal works focus on the role of farmers
A soldier in uniform descends with a rope tied to his body, to a plough that is chained to the ground. This image symbolising the role of farmers in society is one among 20 artworks by Delhi-based artist Pradosh Swain as part of Power of Plough, a virtual showcase to be launched on May 15.
“Farmers are silent warriors of the pandemic,” says Pradosh over a phone call from Delhi. The launch date is significant as it coincides with Akshaya Tritiya, which is celebrated as a farmer’s festival across Odisha, where the artist hails from.
Pradosh began painting in lockdown 2020 when Work From Home became the new normal. “Farmers feed the world but can never WFH, even during the lockdown. If that ever happens, we will all starve,” he says, adding they are all frontline workers too.
He feels that farmer’s issue during COVID-19 has never been the focal point of any discussion. “We regularly read newspapers about how farmers’ ratio is reducing and agro lands are being converted into concrete structures. If we do not respond to this truth, food production may stop shortly,” he cautions. This anxiety over our current reality is evident in his image of a baby on a roti, chained with locks.
Pradosh’s love for the heartland stems from having grown up amid the greenery of Tangi village in Cuttack, Odisha. The 7×5 and 6×4 canvases with surrealist, dreamlike images in acrylics and oil also portray the dilemma faced by farmers’ children caught between education and farming. A school boy’s dilemma is depicted in a canvas resembling a circuit board with a plough by his side. “Why should farming be taken up by only farmers’ children? Why can’t others too be involved in farming?” asks Pradosh.Living in Indirapuram in Delhi, Pradosh shares that painting kept him busy and sane during the pandemic. The artworks (can be seen on Pradosh’s Facebook page and his Instagram handle @pradoshswain.artist) have been captured in short films made by curator Janardan Paramguru of Five Minute Arts.