Gagan Thakur has celebrated empowerment of women, through powerful images of women leaders in the interiors of his designer autorickshaw. Here’s more.
To most of us, the ubiquitous auto-rickshaw means nothing more than public transportation. How often have you seen autos with the hackneyed note behind them, with ‘Horn Ok Please’ or ‘Hum Do Humare Do’ (in all its variant forms), or even the choicest of cheesy dialogues or names of people plastered behind them?
We probably don’t give these things a thought – dismissing them as one more colourful element that comprises the Indian street scene.
And yet, to Delhi-based Gagan Thakur, his auto was much more than just a means to ferry people about: it became a vehicle to tell an empowering story. In an interesting essay on his work, one understands that Gagan’s auto sticks out in the crowd for all the right reasons. Replete with powerful images of women leaders, organizations that fight for women’s rights across India, this auto is all about telling empowering stories of women leaders.
The auto has powerful paintings of a host of women leaders, including the likes of Irom Sharmila, Soni Sori, Savitribhai Phule, Chitralekha, and Bhanwari Devi among the women, and Pembillai Orumai and Khabar Lahariya, the two organizations.
Painted by Kruttika Susarla, the idea of painted autos is a product of her Mumbai-based art initiative called Taxi Fabric. The team refurbishes the interiors of taxis and autos with the help of local designers. This is being done in collaboration with the Manas Foundation, which works around the theme of gender equality. In all, in Delhi, there are five or six vehicles that are set to have their interiors redone, all looking at themes focusing on gender equality.
It’s interesting to see how a vehicle is being used as more than just a means of transportation – as a vehicle of storytelling, of putting women back in the dialogue through their incorporation in the public space. While it is certainly a possibility that few may be able to associate all the subjects with their correct identities, just seeing the artistic representation might be a welcome route to starting a dialogue.
Image Source: Taxi Fabric