'Lonely Residents' | Artist Kedar Dhondu illustrates India's inhabitants during COVID-19 lockdown
On the evening of Sunday, March 22nd, 2020, India announced it would extend it's one day Janata curfew until Wednesday. However, by Tuesday it was already decided that a full 21 day lockdown would commence as of March 24th. Restricting the residents of India to the confinements of their homes for the foreseeable future in an attempt to fight COVID-19.
A situation local artist, Kedar Dhondu, took as an opportunity to connect & uplift his community.
For on Thursday, March 25th, he reached out to his followers on social media and began a series to showcase 'Lonely Residents' as they grapple with life indoors.
"Here is my first resident, Prayuj Velip. He is an art student and presently lives alone in a apartment far away from his home where his parents live. He finds the present times better just because he is getting plenty of time to create works of art as he always wanted to be home alone." - Posted March 26th
About the project 'Lonely Residents’
Text & images contributed by Kedar Dhondu
When the quarantine had already begun in many other parts of the world, in India we were still relaxed thinking the novel Coronavirus wouldn't reach us here. Thoughts of the same were fuelled with myths such as, 'the temperature in India is hot so it won’t survive in India...'
We have already entered stage 3 and the number of positive cases is up to 1974 with 55 deceased till now. (Noted April 1st, 2020 at 22:11)
"The Mandrekar Family in lockdown: Pafullata Mandrekar (L), Nandini Mandrekar (R) & Sudath Mandrekar (Centre) and other family members have been quarantined in their home in Bicholim-Goa since 22nd March 2020. For them it is difficult to accept the fact that novel coronavirus could do so much damage to the world. They have stated that they feel extremely sad about it and they hope life to get back to its normal state in the days to come." - Posted March 30th
After the Janata curfew day in India on 22nd March, 2020, most of the Indian citizens felt the difficult and tense situation and what is it like, ‘to get yourself locked at home’.
People in India are now locked in their homes for 21 days (as of 24th March, 2020), in compliance with the quarantine imposed by the government to fight the spread of COVID-19.
"Smarajit Arya with his son at their family's residence in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Smarajit's father Shyamsundar Subudhi states, 'It is a civil imprisonment voluntarily accepted worldwide because of Coronavirus. The virus is something exception which spreads more speedier than lightning and air. Now all the people of the world have believed to stand against this novel CoronaVirus. We are one world, we are one family'" - Posted March 31st
Being an artist, I found the situation tense as most of the people face great difficulty to live life indoors.
I uploaded a post on social media (March 25th, 2020) requesting the followers in my friend list to share with me a picture of themselves in their house and also to share with me a brief text about how they are using this quarantine time and how they feel being locked at home.
I feel this initiative of mine to do one drawing of ‘Lonely Residents’ each day, will give a thought of realization. ‘To invent things everyday’ or to get a feeling that, ‘the house is a great sea to explore’.
Two weeks in and the project has certainly grown beyond Goa. I am also receiving entries of references from outside India since most of the countries are under lockdown. I have now done drawings of two people from outside India, one from Paris, France and other from Montreal, Canada.
"Joaquim Mascarnhas at his residence at Loutolim, Goa, found some time to clean the air gun that he owns. Is this reminding you of 'Mr And Mrs Andrews', portrait of about 1750 by Thomas Gainsborough?" - Posted on March 28th
I also feel that by giving importance to ‘Lonely Residents’ in the form of art, that people will feel good and happy about it, forgetting about the tense situation.
I also hope that people can use this time to try to reinvent themselves.
By staying barricaded in the house gives the opportunity to become aware of so many things and how to live life by not taking too much of stress.
"This portrait is of Poonam Naik. She is from Sadar Ponda. She says, "Fear of uncertainty demands a much more 'responsible person' from me". That is her concern for the family, especially the elder ones during this difficult situation." - Posted March 27th
The series is presently worked in graphite on paper of size, 43cm x 28 cm and the drawing is uploaded on Kedar's Instagram and Facebook pages daily.
Later, the series will be further worked with watercolour.
"Satyam Acharya has developed a strong bond between himself and his father as they are living together in this house. Satyam prepares tea and breakfast whereas lunch and dinner is cooked by his father. His father spends time reading while Satyam spends times working on his artworks and developing his thought process." - Posted March 29th
‘Lonely Residents’ by Kedar Dhondu
Drawings on Paper, 2020
You can also find Kedar's works displayed every Wednesday as part of Surviving SQ (self-quarantine), an online series curated by Leandre Dsouza of Sunaparanta Goa Centres for the Arts through which artists share creative coping strategies during this unpredictable time.