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Artist in focus: Gagan Singh

Gagan Singh is an artist living in New Delhi. He is interested in drawing and thinking through drawing. His work often pops up when he is either aimlessly walking around in the city or at his daily coffee sessions at cafes. He is a graduate in Fine Arts from Kent Institute of Art and Design, Canterbury, Kent. Follow him on Instagram.

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“These drawings represent my inner conflict of always failing to understand the outer conflicts of discrimination often on the basis of a surname; something which gives away who you are and where you should be placed in India. This art of placement decides how others will treat you and how you may think of yourself,” says Gagan Singh.

Singh draws. It’s his thing. He draws to think and thinks to draw. He draws to make sense of the world.

For this sequence of drawings he immersed himself in the unlikely context of online news. Drawing is interpretative i.e. a slow process. In the run up to this post Singh was ‘uncertain’ and I was ‘jumpy’ about how drawing, or indeed Infinite Light, would hold up against the velocity at which news and online media circulates.

Singh countered this unease by falling back on the process of drawing, which offers some clues, if not answers.

Singh says, “Drawing can be defined as a way to test a thought. A thought could be seen as the stages of thinking, which develop over time. During the stages of this development I access things which interest me. In this case, I got interested in the unending stream of online news dealing with issues of race, caste, religion, law judgments, political statements, speeches etc."

“As and when the thought developed, I created a sketch, and that sketch led me to the next sketch. This taught me that drawing is an on-going method of testing the nature of a thought," he adds.

“Here the method has been to draw a pausing line. The pauses allowed for the possibility of taking the line anywhere. I worked directly on paper not allowing any alteration to the thought.”

Singh attempts to use the time lag inherent to drawing, its after-the-factness to slow down the news to contemplate and make sense of it.

As for the humour, it needs little explanation. It is straight-up, deadpan and more than a touch politically incorrect. And don’t be too quick to write off crow wisdom. On average, a crow is as intelligent as a seven-year-old human child. Crows make tools. They are capable of abstract reasoning, complex problem-solving, and group decision-making.

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Gitanjali Dang is a curator, writer and shape-shifter. In 2012, she founded Khanabadosh, an itinerant arts lab. More here.