At protest venues, art drives activism, and vice versa - ECAS Punjab

At protest venues, art drives activism, and vice versa

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Sukhmeet Bhasin

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 15

With farmers' protests has resurfaced the age-old connection between art and activism. 'Nukkad nataks' at the protest venues in Delhi are not only boosting the farmers' morale but also keeping them amused in difficult times.

On Sunday night, 'Samay Wali Dang', directed by famous playwright Sahib Singh, was performed at the Tikri border. Singh, along with his team, is camping at the protest venue with farmers. Director of Adakar Manch, Mohali, Singh's plays are known to raise issues and concerns of today.

Meanwhile, 'Je Hun Vi Na Bole', directed by Anita Shabdeesh, was staged at the three-day Gursharan Singh Naat Utsav in Chandigarh to support farmers. From the 'No farmer, no food' stickers on vehicles to playing music in cars and at protest sites, artistic expression in its many forms has been the primary way for youth and citizens to make their voice heard. Farmers have also installed huge projection screens and are screening plays for the protesters in Delhi.

Several Punjabi songs have gone viral during the ongoing agitation against the Centre's farm laws. Many prominent singers who have supported the farmers are planning to come out with more songs to keep the spirits high. Gurpreet, a famous artist from Bathinda, has made many paintings on the farmers' issue. On Friday, he put up his work on the shutter of a beer and wine shop at the Singhu border. His work of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and a humorous painting depicting Diljit Dosanjh and Kangana Ranaut attracted many viewers and some of his works were also sold in no time at the protest site.

Theatre shares a long relationship with India, dating back to 5,000 years. Even after Independence, Indian street theatre evolved as a means to voice concerns of the common man. It had immediately struck a chord with the masses. Street plays are short and the exchange is close, direct and intimate. To be more effective, these are usually loud and larger than life. To draw crowds from all walks of life, focus is on humour as well.



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