Continued from Part 1
The purpose of the "Story of Nangeli" appearing on Facebook in Orijit Sen's own words is:
"This comics story is dedicated to Rohith Vemula (1989-2016), who, like Nangeli, chose death over a life of indignity."
Tribute to one dead Dalit by presenting another animated Bahujan death!
Neither Rohith nor Nangeli killed himself or herself out of choice but of absence of choice to have a life, in other words they were victims of structural murder. Brahminical oppression is reduced to lack of freedom of choice and individualist romantic zeal of choosing death.
Dead Dalits, as mentioned earlier, are "excellent sites where revolutionary fantasies blossom"! In Sen's artwork, and in the entire Brahmin historiography and aesthetics, the complete focus is through the microscopic lens placed over victimized bodies, wounds, names and numbers.
Parallels across the Globe
Since I wrote the Part 1 of this essay, another similar act of appropriation of suffering as art, in another part of the world, has unfolded an analogous debate. An American white woman artist, Dana Schutz's painting "Open Casket," displayed in the ongoing 2017 Whitney Biennial, has sparked protest from Black artist community for 'a perceived exploitation of a still-traumatic incident in American history'. The painting is derived from a 1955 press image depicting the body of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African-American boy who was abducted and brutally murdered by white men under a false allegation of whistling at a white woman. An all white jury later acquitted both accused with the false testimony given by Carolyn Bryant, the white woman at the center of the trial. Emmett Till's mother Mamie Till Mobley had organized his public funeral service with an open casket to show the black community the brutality of her son's killing, saying, "Let the people see what I've seen". Later she got the photographs of the brutalized body in open casket published in the Jet magazine, a black publication, to 'speak to and to move a Black audience', insisting "that the violence that he has been subject to be seen, unobscured".