T. V. SANTHOSH (B. 1968)
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T. V. SANTHOSH (B. 1968)

Rats and Man Made Famine 1

T. V. SANTHOSH (B. 1968)
Rats and Man Made Famine 1
signed 'TV Santhosh'; further inscribed, titled and dated ' 'RATS AND MAN MADE FAMINE' 1 T. V. SANTHOSH - 2005 OIL ON CANVAS SIZE: 4.5' X 6' ' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
54 x 72 in. (137.1 x 183 cm.)
Painted in 2005
Acquired by the present owner, 2008
Nancy Adajania and Baiju Parthan, T.V. Santhosh Unresolved Stories, Mumbai, 2007, p. 45 (illustrated)
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

Man Made Famine and Rats is part of a series of three paintings that TV Santhosh painted in early 2005. The subject was a reaction and response to the chaos that Asia was experiencing due to the Tsunami in December of 2004. This painting is first of its series and in typical signature style; Santhosh borrows an image from the news media and cloaks and endows it with another dimension, meaning and life.

The original image that the artist borrowed is a statistical study of rats that infest granaries in the city of Mumbai. Much of the grain that is stowed away by the government and other private entities is devoured by these rats. A poster was created that showed the statistics and number of rats that were killed each year in these granaries. The poster design is based on the currency bill of India, having borrowed and incorporated various design motifs including the wheel of life.

In a conversation with the artist, Santhosh comments that he was intrigued by the complexity of layered semantics seen in this image of a person holding this poster. The poster in the form of a currency stands for a 'promise to provide'; food grain and spices are some of the earliest forms of the barter system - again an understanding of give-and-take. The irony of this image is that the food that was produced is now being consumed by others who neither paid nor bartered anything for it. While there is this self-created crisis imposed on the common people. The rat becomes a metaphor for the human intervention and misconduct that creates the crisis in the first place.
This painting exemplifies what has become Santhosh's signature style: bold, explosive colours set in the photographic negative, reversing light and dark areas of the canvas. The bright yet starkly contrasting palette of purple and green enhances the element of intrigue; rife with political commentary, this painting reflects the complexity of current and historic global crises, which are almost always created by man.

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