‘It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves- MK Gandhi
These works titled Bound by duty: An Idea of Swaraj and Collectiveness are inspired by Gandhi’s seminal anti-imperialist text Hind Swaraj written in 1909. This exhibition examines elements of Gandhi’s critique of modern civilisation, noting his emphasis on an evolved ethical and spiritual self for creating an alternative perspective of a better world. To bring social revolutions for creating peaceful societies, the idea of self-rule or self-control needs to be experienced uniquely by each individual, and ultimately achieving self-transformation. Individuals who have harnessed that inner strength can move mountains.
The biggest challenge today is a disconnect between economic development and ecological well-being, ecology is understood both as man’s outer and inner environment. The economic progress of the kind being pursued in India and elsewhere in the world has become an end in itself. It is divorced from ethics and righteousness. It stands in conflict with man’s responsibility towards his own community and other communities of the world.
Shelly Jyoti is inspired by the micro-organisms in water, such as trillions of tiny fishes collaborating together, displacing water to create oceanic currents, waves and turbulence in the undersea environment. She examines the idea of ‘collectiveness’ and ‘collective impact’ that can bring about social change with evolved and spiritually self-aware communities.
These works are a continuation of Jyoti’s previous works titled,’ Indigo Narratives,’2009, Salt: The Great March 2013 and The Khadi March: Just Five Meters, 2016. The exhibit includes textile site-specific installations, 30 new Ajrakh artworks on khadi, multimedia spoken word poetry and short film on making of Swaraj and collectiveness
Bound by Duty: An Idea of Swaraj and Collectiveness 2018-19 was previewed by Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts IGNCA, New Delhi in 2018. It re-opens in 2019 to exhibit at India International centre IIC and Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai with new works and installations.
Catalogue essay: By Lisa Trivedi – Professor of History, Hamilton College, U.S.A, Author of Clothing Gandhi’s Nation: Homespun and Modern India