11 April, 2021

Arrested Kinetics

A tribal artist's suicide in a Japan 'museum' reopens old wounds

Arrested Kinetics
The death of 39-year-old Jangarh Singh Shyam, one of India's most inventive Gond painters from Madhya Pradesh, in faraway Japan earlier this month was indeed a grim reminder of the growing trafficking of unsung artists worldwide. Just like his life and paintings, Jangarh's death too almost went unnoticed—when he hanged himself in his room at the Mithila Museum at Niigata Prefecture, a village north of Tokyo, his family back home in MP had to fight a lonely battle, before the Indian government intervened, to even get his body because the museum found the transportation too "expensive". But before that, nobody could hear the talented artist's pleadings—he had already completed three months at the museum and was feeling isolated and lonely, pining to return to India once his term was over. But the museum authorities couldn't care less. He was eventually promised to be "sent back" within 15 days, but his hopes were dashed when his visa was instead extended by another three months. Depressed, Jangarh couldn't do anything but end his life.

Jangarh's fate has once again...

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