May 1-12, 2024, Dwip Gallery, 1/1, Block D (g floor), Lalmatia, Dhaka

Deposits of the past/present


The Othering of the Majority  

We live in a world where the gradual collapse of the matenarrative on and around globalized capitalism can now be conclusively linked to a series of mishaps. One of them surely is the botched dream of the former colonies – better recognized today as peripheral nation states – to successfully emulate the centre. The failure of globalization and continued monopoly of the imperial powers on the global political chessboard while the vast majority is forced to enter a regime of technological governance, together instituted a loss of ‘androrithms’ (as opposed to algorithms), which include emotions, intuition, beliefs and ethics, attributes that set us apart from machines, to speak in reference to Gerd Leonhard. However, at present, the tech-driven schizophrenia coupled with the capital-driven uncertainty has found another strange bedfellow, namely ‘identity politics’.

The reading of Kingshuk Das Chowdhury’s works needs to begin from within a locus where the forces mentioned above, those that have set the world on an unknown course, seem all too real. As he pays attention to majoritarian identity politics, which makes social space less inclusive and less democratic, the artist cast his eyes on the ongoing and movable social disasters. The imageries look like as if the painter has translated his felt-body in the face of the rise of sectarian violence, religious intolerance and the political mayhem that has now become the order of the day.   

It is through ‘soft authoritarian attempts to reconstitute the body politic’, that a people, diverse in their ethnicity and religion, become the object of political manipulation. Demographic imaginaries thus lead to demographic anxieties, resulting in the loss of trust among communities. All this comes to mind while standing amid the images where the presence of fractured bodies clue us in on events that have transpired, clashes that have taken place, and are intermittently occurring without any social remedies and legal redress.

Thus, the artist, in several series done in watercolour on paper, addresses what one may call ‘scenes from the ongoing saga of othering the majority’, since both the ruling elite and the renegade Islamist that seemingly threatens the former’s course of action, represent a minority.