How does the artist negotiate life in a city that is the constituency of a politician who has led a cavalry charge towards political success using social media and aligned corporate media interests his war-horses? Joshi entertained himself scouring cartoons that critiqued dynamics of party meetings, to the personal scandals of politicians, and the changing power dynamics within parties. Cartoons have their origins in the preparatory surface of frescos and paintings from the Renaissance. Joshi’s, egg tempered paper board are changes to cartoons he takes from Kureel, Mika, Shreyas, Surendra, Ninan, Satish Acharya, Keshav and Manjul, erasing their speech balloons and distorting them with watercolour. The watercolours celebrate the authorship of the cartoons, though copies, they allow artistic freedoms of dissent in form, colour and politics. Joshi’s awaited solo ‘Masquerade and Apologue’ that sees him masquerade as an investigative journalist leafing through newspapers is an apologue of a change in India’s history.
Joshi’s installs his paintings like a set of comic strips, choreographed to be discursive to the viewer, while letting his watercolour cartoons jut out like museum displays of frescoes, in his show where he revisits the history of the cartoon in newsprint. It is a meticulous study of a peculiar visual vocabulary very pertinent in a period where a political leadership offers satire in plentitude through irresponsible statements, perverse ideologies and views on science devoid of any rationalism.
Extract of an essay by Sumesh Sharma Bombay, 2014
Masquerade and other Apologues, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, 2014