A corridor of hands, a zone of fear

Rasheed Kappan, Bangalore, Aug 20, 2014, DHNS:

A corridor of hands, a zone of fear

The aura of safety that Bangalore uneasily wore for years is today in tatters. Brazen attacks on women and child­ren have dramatically shaken that faith.

Reflecting this reality requires a brutal frankness, an artistic creation that is equally experiential and in-your-face. The Neighbourhood Project, currently on at the Rangoli Metro Centre, is one such attempt.

Deceptively simple, the white-clothed installation beckons the visitor to the far left corner of an exhibition hall. But until the visitor ventures into the narrow corridor behind the screen, he/she wouldn’t spot the wirey hands, designed to scare, to grope, to instill that sense of fear and dread, threat and suffocation.

The visitor could catch that emotional multitude on a mirror placed at the far end of the corridor.

As project artists Neha Mehta and Rahul K P explains, the idea is to “Mark the Spot.” “It is an urge to women who have been violated by any means to mark / paint that spot where it happened. It is a way to make the spot visible and eliminate chances of it recurring there, to map the places and make these zones safer. It is an indicator of sorts to where we are headed as a civilisation.”

Part of the city’s teeming crowds, most women who passed this corridor of hands over the past week identified and empathised with the experience.

Neha Mehta and Rahul observed the play of emotions, as the hands symbolically played out the dynamics of “good touch” and “bad touch.”

Many women went out in silence, revisiting fears untold and unshared.

Male and female visitors had different perspectives. Rahul recalled how a woman visitor described the experience immediately after going through the corridor.

“She said it was exactly how women in Bangalore feel everyday.” But many men had to be told what the hands signified. Once explained, they understood the powerful symbolism of those installations.

On till August 25 at the Rangoli Centre, the Neighbourhood Project will move on to the City’s other parts soon.

“We want to have these on BMTC buses. We will be approaching the transport corporation soon. Other organisations such as Alliance Francaise have also shown interest,” explained Rahul.

To connect with the Project and spread the message, email theneighborhoodartproject@gmail.com

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