Published: 04th June 2019
A Sarcasanam state of mind: How artist Pavi Sankar uses his art to speak truth to power
The mind behind Sarcasanam speaks about finding inspiration in the world around him and making a statement through his art
Pavi Sankar does not remember the first time he painted something. He squints in concentration when I prod at him to recollect a memory and says, “I remember participating in a competition while I was a very young child, probably in the first standard. At the time, I just painted a cliched mother and child but that’s probably the first time I created a work of art.” However, it’s impossible to forget anything he has made since.
The artist goes by the pen name Sarcasanam. Once he set his painting tools loose on Instagram, there was no stopping him. Dripping with satire and a truckload of social commentary, the page has become everyone’s favourite artist to share. “My current style really evolved just over the past two years,” he says. “When I really started to explore art, I discovered that I like to bring some humour into whatever I make, even if it’s painful. So I started to explore more such options. Whatever I find interesting, I recreate on my canvas and add a little tongue-in-cheek essence of my own.”
COMIC CONS: Pavi Sankar's take on Malayalam comic book characters
Pavi’s work fits right into the quickly evolving meme-centric social media scene. He explains it saying, “There is a troll mentality that has crept into my work recently. There is this instinct I have to take reality and represent it in a different form. I appreciate all shapes and forms of art myself. But when I create something myself, I want it to get people thinking about it. I want them to take a look at my work and really examine what is around them.”
Sarcasanam is filled with themes like politics and pop culture which have a real impact on people. Pavi explains that he uses these subjects because they are generally familiar to everyone and has the ability to really get the point across. He says, “I don’t want to make fun of anyone or anything, I think that cheapens the idea behind what I am trying to convey. A troll or meme only works if it still represents a little bit of truth. When someone looks at a work of art that I created, they appreciate it only because they know that it is a heightened version of the reality around them.”
POINT TAKEN: Sarcasanam focuses on themes that question current affairs
Pavi stresses on the importance of relating to his audience. “In my line of work, for something to work, people should understand it or it can lead to a lot of missed connections. It all depends on individual interpretation anyway.” As for the social commentary, he says, “The common man has a lot of limits around what he can or cannot do. The greatest drawback of being human is how subjective the things that affect us can be. So it is very possible that the social issues that I try to highlight may not really reach many people. But if someone actually understands and the point actually gets across, it means I have made a mark on someone’s mind.”
He goes on, “My work is for those who are involved in what is taking place around them. If you don’t read the newspaper or keep your ears alert for what is happening in the world around you, I’m afraid my work may not be particularly eye-opening.” So keep your eyes glued to the TV and your ears perked for the sound of news because you’ll need to be ready for the Sarcasanam take that follows it.