Images from the Year 2016

Each day brings us images, moments frozen in time, which encapsulate something of our contemporaneity.  We live in an age when machines are making images for “machines”. We encounter the “news” on our screens, images are fleeting and momentary. Individual suffering often gets lost, becoming a part of the debris that piles sky-high around us as we are thrust into the future. According to Walter Benjamin “progress” has proved to be a cruel illusion, a “catastrophe which keeps piling ruin upon ruin”. The utter shock of what we see often fails to move us, stories are forgotten quickly, becoming at the very best, a selection from yesterday’s newspaper.  This series, through selections from news photos that have appeared over the past year, re-documents the extraordinary struggles people are facing using the oldest technology known to us- drawing. Each individual expression “speaks” more than the grand narratives that we are consistently bombarded with every day. I invite viewers to interact with these artworks, take them off the self, and contemplate, in their own time the year that has been. For, if we cannot understand someone’s pain, what’s the point of this life or any other?

These drawings are a part of an ongoing project to document the times we live in.

Varunika Saraf, 2016


Varunika Saraf’s new series of drawings, an ongoing project titled Citizen Z, featured in this exhibition chronicles the extraordinary struggles of ordinary lives. They act as an epilogue to the lives which exists around us, their perseverance and tales of tragedies becoming a staple for our media outlets to be eventually forgotten in the bombardment of images. These visually compelling drawings incised on the surface attempts to etch these figures forever onto our collective memories. Here the images assembled from the virtual realm attain a tangible quality. Viewers are invited to take these works and have a closer look at them. It allows them to develop an intimate relation with these works; to meditate, memorise, and introspect instead of just glancing through them. Saraf reclaims them from something only exist behind our screens from images which have an active presence. In doing so Saraf engenders a materiality to these images and as a visual expression, it stands on the side of the marginalised.

Premjish Achari, 2017