Amateur artists showcase issues of Khirki Village

New Delhi:  Art graduates from different colleges in the country are all set to present their works, created under the annual PEERS 2016 residency programme to address issues of urban safety, racial discrimination, migration and other problems faced in south Delhi's Khirki Village in South Delhi. The works that have been created by five amateur artists, during the programme hosted by Khoj International Artists' Association, will be exhibited at Khoj Studios, Khirki Extension here from June 16 to June 20. The youngest of the group, Arijit Bhattacharyya, addresses migration and contemporary urbanism through his works. He has created a leatherite bag that transforms itself into a super hero rubber suit which can be worn during fires.  "I wanted my art to be functional. So, I have designed this suit which can be worn as protective gear", he said. "I noticed that while there is a lot of economic development in Khirki and so much construction going on, but there is also a huge safety hazard, especially if a fire breaks out," he added. The critic-in-residence for PEERS 2016 is Satyajit Dave from Baroda's Maharaja Sayajirao University. Anuradha Upadhyay from the same institution believes in creating work that refers to the socio-politics of contemporary times. Upadhyay has dealt with what she calls “the gaze”. She has painted mask-like faces on small sculptural objects that will be displayed as part of her other drawings and writings.  "I wanted to create various types of ‘gazesÂ’, and while working at Khoj, what also interested me was how African communities are looked at," she said. "I come from a conservative family and one issue that concerns me is how women are perceived in our society". "Khirki as a venue has many possibilities, it's such a multi-cultural place with so many expressions," she said. KhirkiÂ’s complexity inspires Smita Rajmane from Noida's Shiv Nadar University and Manojit Samanta from Kolkata's Government College of Art and Craft.  Samanta has created a jigsaw puzzle on cardboard to unravel the maze-like socio-economic fabric of the area, while Johnson Kshetrimayun, also from Maharaja Sayajirao University, delves into his own personal history of being racially abused through poignant wall illustrations.  Kshetrimayum talks about incidents of abuse and torment he faced being a northeasterner.  "We were called everything from 'chinky' to 'chowmein' and many times were slapped and beaten up. I put all this across in wall-based drawings and illustrations to speak about discrimination, even the one we witness in the Khirki area," Kshetrimayum explained.