Born in 1980, Balaji Ponna completed his Bachelor’s degree in Graphics from Andhra University in Vishakhapatnam, and his Master’s degree in the same from Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan.
Balaji Ponna’s highly detailed canvases and smaller works on paper may seem undemanding at first. However, the artist employs clever images and snippets of text to subtly address sociopolitical issues, including those of class and corruption, which are prevalent across all levels of Indian society. He currently lives and work in Baroda.
"This series of works follows my continuing engagement with what could be called ‘human-scapes’. It is also the outcome of my concerns and comments about existing society. This series to me is a mirror of our dystopic times. With hatred and treachery becoming the norm of the day, the hope for a better life fades into oblivion. There will still be a future, but the question is what that future will be like. The harbingers of change are dark and visions are blurred in the search for humanity.
What is left in the end are the traces and adages of truths that can only be retold. If we can really listen to these simple truths, there probably is still a chance for the skies to get clearer. These dark clouds are, of course, the result of our human-inflicted calamities, both literally and metaphorically. The gloom which surrounds our humanity will erase the horizon of hope if we don’t go back to the fundamentals of equality. If we are to do anything it’s to look back into history and see why these structures, edifices and state institutions that talk about social justice and democracy were created. When personal greed and inhumanity becomes the culture of our society, we are on the brink of yet another collapse. History has proven that this collapse is most costly for the millions who are oppressed and dispossessed. Lamentation and guilt after chaos leads to nothing but the spiraling and prolongation of the sickness and mental disease in society. What this series pleads for the viewer to notice is the death and decay that’s seemingly imminent.
What I put across and suggest for us all is to pick up those simple commonsensical markers which can lead us somewhere better. Like the shadow that follows even an optically impaired person however oblivious he is of that fact, the effects of our inhuman and unconcerned deeds follow us everywhere to remind us of our impending doom."
Balaji Ponna currently lives and works in Baroda India. He received his BFA in Graphics from Andhra University and his MFA in Graphics from Bharati University. His art has been exhibited widely in India, and has also been shown in New York, Hong Kong and Verona.