Salutations for Indian Army on Special Postcards

by August 6, 2019 0 comments


Curator Bhupendra Asthana, in his exhibition, Salute for Indian Army on Indian Postcards, tries to showcase the drastic change in the practice of sending messages because of technology. By Uma Nair

It has been said that postcards were the Instagram equivalents of the early 20th century. Those were the years when they were at the height of their popularity but even now, they are considered as the best means of communication, especially for Indian soldiers on the go, dropping a line from their remote areas. And picture postcards continue to be a part of travel souvenirs.

Postcards from the front

Curated by artist and writer Bhupendra Asthana, the exhibition, Salute for Indian Army on Indian Postcards, comes all the way from Lucknow to Lalit Kala Akademi. “The exhibition was created because we felt that the postal network is widespread all over the country and it reaches easily to remote areas,” Asthana says and goes on to add, “Postcards have a certain uniqueness about them. They carry an everyday reality of personal thoughts but technology has drastically changed the practice of sending messages. That era has almost come to an end. It has a major tribute to art. The idea is to draw attention to it as a medium of communication and also reflecting our reverence and respect for the Indian Army. Through the exhibition, we will remember the deeds of service, protection and security the Army has given over the years.”

The guardians of our nation, in these postcards, are seen fighting heroic battles and reassuring patriotic messages that help us be witnesses of a period of war that we, as a population, may or may not have been exposed to.

Epic Endeavour

The participation of 200 artists, poets, writers from all over the country makes this endeavour an epic one. The exhibition of artworks made at the All India postcards at first in Lucknow in June in Uttar Pradesh is a debut of devotion and dedication. Artists from across the country displaying alongside the works of poets, and  writers is indeed commendable. It also includes works of painters, photographers, poets and authors.

The moment, the portrait, the action and the emotion make a mundane incident from the daily grind of trench warfare and battlefields hugely telling. The choice to paint/sketch/draw  ordinary soldiers, resting rather than in combat, is also a completely new approach to depicting war.

Together with the sharp diagonals of the scenes in terms of treatment and handling — up which a soldier glances, legs outstretched and hands pocketed — it serves as a reminder of the compelling force of the army personnel and their role as protectors.

There is also a more experimental style one thought of as very effective in rendering the unprecedented experiences of the Army men. The postcards provide a more intense reality than ‘realism’.

Truth and Memory

Truth and memory create paintings of meaning, and images that go beyond the narrative of the battlefield — each human life is precious. It tells us that nationalism and patriotism are both vital components of our lives and we must look at these images as mirror of history. These are postcards of purpose and meaning and they serve as benchmarks of a period of great sacrifice and service.

The exhibition will travel to Goa, Maharashtra, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar. When it travels everyone will be a part of the richness of action and the beauty of selfless service to man.

(The exhibition is on display till August 12 at the Lalit Kala Akademi.)

Writer & Courtesy: Uma Nair

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