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A dialogue with emotions

Visual artist Intiyaz makes his paintbrush converse with everyday occurrences.
Last Updated : 17 September 2022, 19:33 IST
Last Updated : 17 September 2022, 19:33 IST

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'In My Street'
'In My Street'
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'Maze'
'Maze'
Mohd. Intiyaz
Mohd. Intiyaz

In a world of social isolation, visual artist from Jharkhand, Mohammed Intiyaz showcases his artworks in an exhibition titled ‘Can we Talk?’ at Method Kalaghoda in Mumbai.

The Jamia Millia alumnus brings in a visual language threading together diverse perceptions through his paintings. What specifically does he wish to talk about through ‘Can We Talk?’ “My exhibition is a calling for the people to gather, see and discuss things, situations or instances that feel inconsequential to them and often get overlooked but impact a major group of people generally regarded as bheed (crowd). People like me, people amidst whom I’ve grown up, people who form the society,” says Intiyaz.

‘Maze’ brings in stifled figures of men and women and children, wearing pots and buckets — some coloured, some grey — over their heads and faces.

“Sometimes when there was a water shortage and there was no water at home, my whole family would be upset all day about how to get work done. The problem would cause stress and play on everyone’s mind throughout the day,” he explains.

“The buckets on the heads are indicative of how people from the slums are many times referred to as shortsighted. When your basic needs such as water, in this case, are not fulfilled, you tend to fret till you are able to fulfil them, thereby not leaving much scope to think and expand beyond the necessities. I have used vivacious colours for the buckets to attract attention to the truth that does merit king-sized attention in real life.”

Water is a lifeline that colours his other artwork ‘Age’ in a beautiful, subtle way. It is evocative of the daily struggle of millions across the country in securing potable water. “This work addresses the difficulties involved in the activity of fetching adequate water, daily. When I was eight years old, my family lived in a rented home in Delhi.

At that time, we had to stand in long, snaking queues to procure necessary water from the municipal water tank. I remember, the people in the queues being desperate and vicious as the water was limited and people, endless. There is a particular incident that jars as an emotional scar — that of an irate woman picking my bucket and flinging it away as we did not own the house we stayed in,” he
recalls.

Social cocoon

As a mural artist, sometimes he makes use of enamel paint. Sacks too have become a part of his art arsenal, if you count that as a quirk. Back to the dip in emotions. With ‘Empathetic’ Intiyaz dips into the realm of human emotions and connectivity. The greys segregate the four-legged from the two-legged. “Empathetic is actually inspired by the architecture of my colony. The erratic placement of the houses “planned” by people according to the requirements of their families came to my mind when I was working on this piece. During the course of the pandemic, the colony was virtually shut down and everyone used to gather only in a certain open area for any special events. This made the streets look bare and bereft of life. The strays who usually added to the hustle and bustle on the narrow lanes and at night with their highly audible barks and yelps were left isolated. They represent the deafening silence of the area during the Covid waves.”

There are vignettes from his social cocoon, childhood memories that move through the artworks with ease, drawing in and knitting the viewer to the emotions that run strong and carry the works successfully on their crest. The balloon seller on the street makes an appearance in ‘In my Street’. In the works of every artist, there are leaves pulled out from their early days, lingering recollections that surge forth in shapes and colours. “Our humble beginnings compelled me to sell balloons, and as an adolescent, when hormones and egos are at play, I felt very embarrassed and insecure as I thought my friends would make fun of me. So, I used to hide my face with balloons in the hope that no one could recognise me,” shares Intiyaz.

What’s next for him? “I wish to continue my explorations into the human psyche, working on new projects, unravelling more and more each day for as long as it is viable.”

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Published 17 September 2022, 19:31 IST

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