The Theme

Every year The Monsoon Festival typically presents a sub-theme: an aesthetic trope from the lexicon of Monsoon experience available to us classically; or an inventive approach that creates newer curatorial ideas to enjoy the aesthetic predominance of India’s grandest season. In its 15th edition, we present a highly imaginative original theme: Lockdown Chaumasa. Much delayed, the festival premieres towards the fag end of the Chaumasa: perhaps reflecting the unpredictable aspect of the monsoon, and the state of flux that our lives are in currently. We now reflectively look back at both the peak Lockdown time, and ideas around the monsoonal Chaumasa..

Classically the monsoonal Chaumasa period is a time of no-travel, minimalism, hermetic practice, meditation and inner reflection, and various religious and spiritual practices centred around these ideas. Similarly, today, the Lockdown experience has also fostered such thoughts of self-actualisation, through the forced isolation / quarantine / confinement and social distancing that we have been subjected to in recent times.

This online art exhibition addresses emotive similarities between the classical monsoonal Chaturmas (or Chaumasa); and the current out of the blue circumstance of the Lockdown, induced by the contemporary pandemic. While the Chaumasa is eternal and part of India’s aesthetic-emotive-spiritual-cultural-religious-celebratory heritage since time immemorial; the Lockdown is circumstantial, an unexpected contemporary guest, which we are forced to befriend. And yet, the two experiential units, significantly separated by time and contexts; have some common strands that this project explores.

The deeper attempt is to channelise our energies towards higher ideas and deeper truths that govern our lives; aided by the pre-ordained ideas laid down in the Chaumasa vocabulary during this trying time of the lockdown.

The project also aims to contribute to the gamut of online experience in the arts today, by devising new formats of artistic presentation in collaboration with leading and emerging artists, featuring multifarious artistic mediums.

Read more on the aspects of the theme: The Chaumasa and Ways of Being / The Lockdown Experience

Curatorial videos on IGTV: Introduction / On the Chaumasa / The Lockdown Experience

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