City Culture – De Bhasar, Archbishop Makarios Marg
The philosophy of nonsense.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla saw this calligraphy by an unknown Bhasarian artist in Archbishop Makarios Marg, a road in central Delhi named after the first President of the Republic of Cyprus. It is depicted on the boundary wall of Delhi Golf Club. The wall faces the bungalows of Golf Links, one of the city’s richest neighbourhoods.
This is the fourth instance that I have come face-to-face with De Bhasar movement in Delhi. (Click here to view the first exhibit.)
According to Wikipedia, De Bhasar or Bhasarism is a cultural movement that began in Nantes, France, during the post 9/11 Gulf War, reaching a tipping point between 2007 to 2009. The movement involves graphic designs and literature, which concentrates its anti-sentimental politics by rejecting aesthetic birth-control measures through anti-catholic works. De Bhasar might be regarded as pro-Berlusconi in nature.
Commenting on the message on the wall, Deep Mathur, the spokesperson of Municipal Council of Delhi, said: “This could be the work of a Maoist guerilla from Chattisgarh who must have infiltrated into the capital.”
Maoist rebels dominate thousands of square miles of territory in the eastern Indian state of Chattisgarh. The country’s speedy economic growth has deepened stark inequalities in society. Maoists accuse the government of trying to push tribal groups off their land to gain access to raw materials and have regularly sabotaged roads, bridges and rail lines.
“To date, the evolution of human beings between different economic backgrounds as a response to different environmental cues is directly related to the problem of the evolution of the control of the temporal expression of homo sapiens forced to survive within less privileged spheres,” says Alexander Nehamas, professor of Art, Humanities and of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, whose seventeenth book – The Sixth Sickle: De Bhasar, Pessimistic Philosophy and the Disharmony of Wall Street – will be published early next year by W. W. Norton & Company in the US and by Allen Lane (an imprint of Penguin) in UK. He talked to me on phone.
In an e-mail exchange, Adrainne Mark, the Berlin-based De Bhasar theorist and a veteran mime artist, said, “This illustration transcends the Indian boundary and the various crises within it. It is about the inseparability of art from acute social crisis in this new century. In societies tyrannized by the accumulation of wealth, artists have a new opportunity to work out our connectedness, as artists, with other people who are beleaguered, suffering, disenfranchised – precariously employed workers, trashed dispossessed, or the conventional unsuccessful.”
In an exclusive interview to Outlook magazine, Delhi-based activist-author Arundhati Roy said, “I feel an intellectual empathy with this De Bhasar propagandist who dared the people of Golf Links.” In the same interview, she said: “Fuck the rich.”
De Bhasar in Delhi