The exhibition continues from our 2007 solo exhibition ("Put It On," Bose Pacia, New York) with a body of work that addresses the themes of safe sex practices and increased sexual activity among Indian youth, against the backdrop of traditional perceptions of sexuality and the increased representation of sexualized bodies within the Indian media landscape. With their characteristic use of pop culture imagery, graphic pizzazz, seductive colors, sardonic wit and insightful juxtapositions, Thukral & Tagra will address deadly serious subjects through a humorous facade, employing paintings, consumer products and sculptural installations in the mix.
As part of the exhibition, Thukral & Tagra will present the installation work "The Beautiful Game," first created for the India Art Summit. Acknowledging the competitiveness and sense of sport that lie at the heart of courtship and romance, a simplified game of billiards will invite couples to test their skill and luck to win T&T merchandise. While this merchandise will educate about safe sex practices, the form of the billiards game itself will act as a metaphor for both the anxiety associated with sexual awakening and the thrill of amorous adventures. By creating the atmosphere of a gaming hall in the context of an art gallery, Thukral & Tagra lure the public into a dialogue about a subject they may usually do everything to avoid.
The Foundation Thukral & Tagra, founded in 2009, aims to spread awareness about the transmission of HIV and to dispel misinformation about AIDS. By employing the multi-disciplinary creativity, playfulness and humor that are hallmarks of their art practice, Thukral & Tagra explore new avenues of communication and education to bring the issues of HIV and AIDS to the public. Their efforts are predominantly targeted towards the urban, middle-class youth, as this demographic group now enjoys leisure time, a measure of privacy and a disposable income, all of which contribute to increased sexual activity at an earlier age. The goal is to break through the ingrained embarrassment associated with talking about sexual activity so that the subject of safe sex practices can be introduced. By positioning their imagery and products at a variety of points in the consumer society (in upscale malls and low-income street markets, on wearable items and printed give-aways) and collaborating with health care NGOs who are already working in the field, Thukral & Tagra hope to create situations where parents and children, flirtatious teens, and inexperienced peer groups are coaxed into addressing the subject and are educated so that they can make responsible choices.