Ravikumar Kashi, “Everything he touched”
Artist: Ravikumar Kashi (Bangalore, India)
Title: Everything he touched (2011)
Medium/technique(s): Conte, Ink and photocopy transfer on Hanji paper stained with Japanese Raka
Number of pages: 32
Dimensions, open: H 14.5” x W 22”
Dimensions, closed: H 14.5” x W 12”
This artist book is called Everything he touched, it is in a way a culmination of my engagement with Mahatma Gandhi as a person through painting, photography and paper works. Our generation ‘understands’ Bapu, as he was fondly called, only through other peoples narratives, books, photos, places he visited or resided and objects used / touched by him. Though his name is called upon very often in political speeches, we have deviated, as a nation, from his ideas. He has been converted into a show piece rather than a living spirit who is followed for his ideas. Objects that he touched / used have been preserved in various museums across India, mainly in Mani Bhavan in Mumbai, Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and Gandhi Museum in New Delhi. I visited most of them and took photographs and did study drawings as a preliminary research for this work.
In this work I have used that study material to bring a sense of fetish that grips the Gandhi museums, where objects he touched live a hallowed life. They also substitute his personality in the national imagination. While I wanted to bring these issues to the fore in my book I also wanted to instill a sense of decay and crumbling in this narrative of objects extending Gandhi’s presence.
The book has been created with Hanji paper from South Korea. I had gone to Jang Ji Bang outside Seoul to learn the process of Hanji from Seong Woo, these papers were made there. It is one of the toughest handmade papers produced and it will survive many hundred years. Even the binding has been made in the Korean traditional way. The Hanji paper has been stained with Japanese Raka, which gives an old’ feel to the paper. Though the book looks old and crumbling, fading from memory, in truth it will be around for a very long time. Therein lies the tension and a reflection on the legacy of Gandhi.