Charcoal And Acrylic On Canvas

6.5 ft X 15 ft

2017

 

I can’t tell day from night

In this dark and dusty hole,

And although my back is aching

I pick up and load the coal.

– Melodye Denisov (@melodye38)

 

Counter table of the Blackyard is an Immersive Painting created by Indian Contemporary Artist Prabhakar Pachpute in 2017. Born in 1986, Pachpute graduated from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, with a Master of Fine Arts degree. The artwork’s title is an allusion to a mining space being rendered black due to coal mining and it is a part of his exhibition titled Shadows on Arrival. Other works have been displayed at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, as well as abroad, like the Van-Abbe-Museum, Netherlands and the Museudart Contemporanide Barcelona. This artwork, like most of Pachpute’s paintings, sculptures, and installations, comes from a place affected by personal history. Pachpute was born into a family of coal miners in Sasti, Maharashtra, a mining town. His art explores the trauma associated with coal mining, on the workforce, community and the environment.

The artwork has a decidedly surreal, dystopian feeling, with barren plateaus and a parched camel in the background. The foreground shows a man with several almost exploding rings for a head and a coal mine train emerging from his sleeve where his arm should be. The questions posed to the viewer are as stark as the shades-of-black landscape in the artwork. Exposed to the constant drudgery of laborious work, does India’s industrial laborer have an individual identity? Where does the man end and the laborer begin? What happens to the masses of land, whose bowels have been carved out for industrial and corporate gain, once coal mining leaves them parched and dry?

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Image courtesy: Live Mint

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