Time is a river; unchallenged, unbroken, ever evolving and ever changing.
You do not step into a same river twice, they say. Civilisations flourish where there have been rivers. There has been a beautiful confluence of two water bodies; Mula and Mutha. And so, the story of our Pune begins.
Do not expect the story that has been popularly portrayed through time. The story is that of a city narrated by itself. It is a collection of the personal, intimate yet unobserved moments that fleet away everyday; lost and never to be found again. This is not a linear representation of history, but a metaphysical depiction of stories. It begins from the origins of the river as the river here is the metaphor. Moving through time, there is emergence of animals, to settlements, civilisation, colonization, industrial revolution, then cultural evolution. The desire was to capture the spirit of each age as time flows, with indigenous customs and traditions blended with the colloquial.
If one were to isolate every element, one would see the receptacle that is Pune, with mountains surrounding it like a bowl. The flora and fauna have been carefully selected, being specific to this geographical region. Episodes from the history of this city have been iconographically laid out; a non-direct but an intellectual approach was implemented. The viewers and masses will be questioned through this approach. Even stylistically, the painting undergoes a lot of transformation. As civilisations evolve, so does the level of articulation. Stylistically, these metaphors have been maintained. A hint of the violence that was the 1961 floods of Pune, has been added, controlled to maintain the rhythm that is consistent throughout the vast stretch. After that, we see the rat race that has turned this city into a field. Pune is no longer the silent and quaint retreat we used to know. With the advent of cellular technologies and internet, a transformation of a different magnitude has taken effect in this city. Customs and traditions have also undergone changes and as citizens of the city, we will keep the fire of our ancestry burning like a resplendent torch.
This Story of the River is my personal understanding, observations and future vision I hold for my city where I've spent most of my aware years. And an example of how private and public creative partnerships can create a timeless environment within any urban landscape with contextual significance.
Song of the City project was conceptualized by Harshvardhan Kadam in assistance with Rajvardhan Kadam, Kedar Namdas and Monish Naik, Lucila Belmonte
Venue: Yerwada Jail Wall
Harshvardhan is a multi-disciplinary visual artist travelling across the country and making large scale artworks. His works have mythology deeply embedded with a contemporary voice which gave birth to a unique style. Inkbrushnme, his studio has handled projects varying from Art Direction for animation and live action films, award winning graphic novels to visuals for international bands. In January 2017, he painted India's largest artwork at the historical Yerwada prison wall in Pune.