In Search of a Witness
Arts Illustrated|June - July 2020
In Search of a Witness
In conversation with legendary artist Arpana Caur on all things epiphanic, on all things pandemic, and on all things artistic
Praveena Shivram

When the ease of the e-mail arrived and pushed the charm of a letter to the dusty attic, the transition seemed somehow quiet, weighed down by the gravity of the past, like mourners leaving a wake in silent groups. The idea of words and images travelling across virtual distances in binaries, in ones and zeroes, and not in stacks loaded on to trains and vans and aeroplanes, was so revolutionary, the ‘inbox’ such a treat, that no one noticed the empty post boxes. So when Arpana Caur managed to invoke that sense of an inland postcard being dropped through the slot of the letterbox by the door with an e-mail, you somehow knew, much like her paintings, that in this space, there is no one or the other, there is no this or that, there are no reducing binaries, but only the earthy scent of an unfolding horizon, the comforting grip of moist nostalgia that carries with it the soft cadence of the old and the rhythmic skips of the new. With Arpana Caur, contrasts are contained in the palm like a pebble, smoothed over time, that when dropped into even an e-mail interview, creates ripples of change.


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June - July 2020