Central to Dawn Chorus 9, as in the other paintings in the series, is the compelling image of the boys’ hair wherein a single figure becomes a composite of many stories. Everyday imagery, traffic, people and animals pile up like a crumbling cascade of narratives, as if the hair was a manifestation of their inner exchanges.
Kallat speaks with great admiration of the book-selling children who readily navigate this metropolis: “The children sell these books with self-assured rigour. Often illiterate, they would offer a long sermon about the merits of the book. To me these young children almost become like mascots for the resilience of [a] tough city such as Mumbai. Above the forehead are rendered a thousand colliding stories; a complex narrative of 18 million people living on a tiny island of 468 square kilometres”. (J. Kallat quoted in Jitish Kallat: 365 Lives, Arario Gallery, Beijing, 2007, p. 26)
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