Shibu Arakkal is an award-winning photo-artist who has garnered international recognition for his conceptual work and a unique philosophical viewpoint which unifies a diverse range of works shown in over 50 exhibitions, spanning a career of nearly 25 years. Arakkal is one of the few Indians to have been awarded the prestigious 'Lorenzo il Magnifico' Gold Prize in Digital Art for his work from his series ‘Constructing Life’ at the Florence Biennale 2013 in Italy. His work embraces abstraction, minimalism and Zen philosophy, whilst merging analogue and digital photographic techniques of printmaking in a distinctive and unconventional style. Every work articulates a depth of thought that is meant to resonate with the viewer and the artist’s conviction that his subject and he have found a way to converse through the medium of photography. His works today are a part of private and institutional collections across India, China, Singapore, Australia, Italy and New York.
Our daily lives, living atmosphere and quality of life is not only signified by the physical buildings we inhabit but also speak about our tastes, culture and sophistication. Of our most serious endeavors in life is to create one such dwelling to exist and flourish in.
It is a silent army of people who painstakingly go about laying down bricks and concrete to create this, our urban footprint.
The sophisticated and design-minded buildings are visually so contrastingly different to the hard and weather-beaten appearances of the people who construct these structures for us. And yet there is such character in their form and faces.
There is a certain way we were meant to be that has been doctored and cultivated to present to the world, a packaging of us that most of us wouldn’t recognise if we were all taken back to a stage of mere existence. It is these ideas that have taken root in my mind to create portraits of the construction worker in a series that ought to question our ideas of what ‘interesting’ is.
‘Constructing Life’ was created in black & white in a recognised technique of mine of digitally layered images produced on fine Hahnemühle archival canvas in sizes of 50” x 50”. All works from the series are meant to be editions of three.