Sachin’s box

My work is about building on memories, not losing them. And this trunk is loaded with memories for my friend Sachin and his family. It belonged to his father who has since retired from the Indian Army. Sachin and I have been friends for some 25-odd years, seeing each other through the many growth phases in our respective lives. So when Sachin and his wife Snigdha asked me to paint this old army trunk I could not refuse.  Snigdha wanted truck art and Sachin wanted me to work around the words – Peace through superior firepower.
Refuse only because while the prospect was inviting but it has been quite a while since I painted on trunks and I did not want to shortchange either him or my craft. So I took my time deliberating on what to paint.
On the surface, these two concepts don’t go together but then it seemed too juicy not to at least try 🙂
I wanted to give them a new lease of life. But I wanted to build on the memories, not obviate them entirely. The observer may notice subtle remains which bear testimony to the trunk’s past life.
I deliberately choose to leave areas of the original blue paint peeking through. I also decided to leave the markings of Uncle Chavan’s posting details. The central motif on the top of the trunk has text lines that have been painted like an insignia commonly seen. I wrapped that with two arms that meet in a handshake at the bottom. The choice of the stripes on the sleeves is to allude to a jail inmate’s uniform as one used to see in political cartoons. The sleeves end in the cuffs of a business suit with both hands handcuffed to each other. I understand the main line of Peace through superior firepower to be about MAD ( Mutually assured destruction), Detente, and a fine balance between the powers that be.  Once that was done – then adding elements of truck art and keeping the Indian icon imagery was simple enough. The ladies are shown doing ‘aarti’ of the insignia. The sadhus are blessing the same. There are a few strategically placed nuclear buttons to show just how flawed this concept actually is and can be at the touch of a button by a madman.

The nazar batoo naturally follows the desire to ward off evil and keep the peace and the man and woman in profile are the families that depend on this ‘peace’ being maintained. The colors and treatment are all about my signature style and of course truck art.

On the face of it – it looks like a colorful trunk but as you can see a LOT of thought goes into making a trunk like this. I also added a little something in the trunk for Sachin. A portrait of him that I had done during lockdown for my mask series!

I leave you with a very sweet video that his son -Yash made of the ‘unboxing’ of the trunk 🙂

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