A large part of our daily life comprises our interactions with those around us. Whether it’s the bakery shop owner down the road, the fruit vendor or the milkman, we are made up of the little stories we share with them. Art too acquires a special meaning when real life seeps into it. In a way, it becomes a way of feeling connected with the world. The pandemic might have forced us to socially distance but it has also made us realise the importance of these daily interactions. In its own little ways, the pandemic got us all to miss the small things that make our life what it is.
27-year-old artist Chirag Swamy’s Inktober Illustrations for 2020 also draw on these daily interactions he had growing up in Mumbai. It became a way of re-telling his childhood while relying heavily on his memory of the stores he visited and the people he met in Mumbai.
One of his illustrations is of ‘Aaji’ from the Dadar flower market whose radiant toothless smile in the bustling market during Ganesh Chathurthi holds a special place in his memory. He recalls how, for years, his father bought fresh flowers on the day of the festival from her and now, every year, he does the same. Only this year, the coronavirus prevented his annual meetings with the soft-spoken Aaji.
Another particularly interesting illustration is of the ‘Famos Hair Salon’ that had a broken mirror because an angry customer broke it in a fit of rage.
“My idea was fairly simple – to tell the experience of growing up in a middle-class family and highlight the stories of people and places that indirectly shaped my life. The people I picked to draw are everyday people who I interacted with from time to time. The interactions were very brief and yet I remember them clearly because of how distinct and interesting they were,” says Chirag.
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