Roshan Chhabria

My practice, every drawing I make in some sense or another, has had its root directly or indirectly in my life and my experiences of being born and brought up in a middle-class Sindhi family. Confronted with constant expectations, personal and familiar aspirations, sensibilities and concerns that are in-built in my ways of thinking as well, the time I spent in the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda brought me face to face with the dilemma of being part of both a conservative middle-class social structure as well as the progressive and liberal environment of an art school. Stemming from this, over the past few years, ‘middle-class’ has become an adjective for my process, and my choice of mediums and forms; observed through ‘middle-class eyes’ and working around a kitschy and borderline garish sensibility to portray the subject. Humour and double meanings are inherent, but most often the light-hearted portrayal is laced with the constant reservation and doubt I have about my own life decisions. The use of text both found and written by me, as well as the utilization of a ‘peculiar’ and questionable aesthetic also becomes a route to question the notion of the ‘good’; ‘misspellings and inconsistent conjugation’ positioning me right at the knife’s edge between two worlds. 

The series of drawings done in reference to the Modern Mother, Middle Class and Ideal Boy are all done during my Masters in MSU Baroda, each taking off from first-hand experiences. The first explores the paradox of a ‘modern’ mother in a setting that is clearly still holding on to its conservative roots. From personal trainers to fashion shows in their children’s schools (Folder 1, D/B), the series explores the myth of so-called modernity, positioning it in dialogue with Richard Hamilton’s first ever Pop Art work through the tongue and cheek appropriation of his title – ‘Just What Makes Today’s Mothers So Different, So Appealing’.

Roshan Chhabria Art

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