Issue 19

Issue XIX: Editor’s Note

As the world recovers from a bruised way of living that a two-year-long pandemic and multiple lockdowns had inflicted upon us, humanity looks for respite. We turn towards our loved ones, we turn towards our communities, and we turn towards art. With art as a symbol of our perspective – one that has been forever altered due to the pandemic – we aspire for art to re-assume the position of being our reference points. Art structures our emotions, passions, and breathes life into our imaginations. Perhaps, it is this characteristic of art that gives it so many forms. Some find art in a canvas, an Instagram feed, or even in a five-letter word. For others, art is found in institutional boundaries, while some find it on the street walls outside those very institutions. However, even with the fervour by which it is created and shared, art still remains vulnerable. It can be destroyed, taken away, or even influenced by politics and power. It is this complexity, the tranquillity and the chaos, that the 19th issue of Open Axis aims to explore.

Artist, academic, and researcher Vishnupriya Rajgarhia lyrically writes “Art is personal, the personal is political, they are social and to most ephemeral” about the birth of the contemporary art world, travelling from the ruins of the Soviet Union to modern art galleries in Central Asia.

In remembrance of the late Lata Mangeshkar, Ashwini Deshpande, an avid listener of Hindi film music, traces the queen of melody’s life through her music, her excellence, and persona that united India across divides.

A legal challenge to marital rape laws has opened up conversations around consent around the country. Shreyashi Sharma explores what our laws on rape actually say and whether they are enough to protect women and their rights.

Debayan Gupta, whose primary interests lie in secure computation and privacy, writes on the controversy surrounding Pegasus and why the public has to be as watchful as governments.

Shree Bhattacharyya dissects the addiction behind Wordle, the word-play game that has become a viral phenomenon in a matter of months.

The India Art Fair has become a trademark exhibition for modern art, with people from all over the country looking forward to the event. In conversation with Open Axis, Jaya Asoka, the director of the India Art Fair 2022, tells us about what one can expect from this year’s rendition.

In a day and age where every entity has an online presence, Jaidev Pant questions whether India is missing an opportunity to upskill its homemakers to run their own businesses.

Meanwhile, Lakshya Sharma goes back to the past and counts down the most riveting controversies for the seven decades that Queen Elizabeth II has been a monarch.

Arunava Sinha, a translator and a professor of Creative Writing, explains the forces behind Amazon’s decision to shut down Westland publishing while examining the larger implications this has on the English language trade publishing business in India.

Influencers impact every aspect of our life, especially on social media. In conversation with two Indian influencers, Lakshya Sharma explores what it means to be an influencer, how it ties into one’s identity, and the impact it has on the world.

Coming to art in the digital world where the definition of what constitutes art is driven by ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ versus technique and skill, Maahira Jain talks about the boons and banes of social media in the art world and the ongoing sanitisation of art.

– Reya Daya, Shree Bhattacharyya, Rutuparna Deshpande & Biblop Kumar Das

Illustrator of cover image: Rutuparna Deshpande

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