Thukral and Tagra invite families, friends, and strangers to wrestle with the issues faced by farmers in India through their installation Bread, Circuses & TBD.
Known internationally for their highly engaging and profound projects that raise awareness of important issues in the world today, the Delhi-based artists continue their ongoing investigation into ‘kushti’, a traditional form of wrestling practiced across India and especially by farmers.
Informed by their long enquiry into game theory, including their research into the Don Pavey Collection, held in the National Arts Education Archive at YSP, the central installation Farmer is a Wrestler is an interactive challenge that invites participants as players to try out seven traditional wrestling manoeuvres, echoing the game of ‘Twister’. Participants land on numbers, rather than colours, where each represents a trial faced by farmers in India, and across the world, such as global warming, suicide, agrarian distress, and drought.
A huge and intricate painting in the shape of a wrestling arena is split into sections and shown on the gallery walls. The paintings are comprised of five layers, which link to the hardships and dire situations faced by the farmers in Farmer is a Wrestler, including wrestling figures inspired by the artists’ interviews with the farmers and their families; the crops and the associated activities vital to their livelihood; and a highlight, which gives emphasis to the issues under discussion.