We are saddened by the news that on Tuesday 18 December 2018 artist-activist and Rijksakademie alumnus Tushar Joag passed away unexpectedly.
Tushar and his wife Sharmila Samant were both residents at the Rijksakademie in 1998 and 1999. After returning to Mumbai, they founded the artist-led initiative 'Open Circle', one of the first platforms of the Rijksakademie Artists Initiatives Network (RAIN). Open Circle
(1999-2008) was an artist collective that sought to engage with contemporary socio-political issues via an integration of theory and practice.
Tushar described himself as a public intervention artist. He founded the Public Work Cells, an organisation that worked “to create works of art that seek to make interventions in the urban space, by designing and producing objects that while being functional and aesthetic bring into focus the various concerns of the immediate situation”.
In recent years he taught at Shiv Nadar University of Arts in Greater Noida, where he and Sharmila set up the Masters of Arts programme.
Over the past few weeks, Tushar had been helping to assemble a forum called Artists Unite
, which recently issued a statement signed by 450 painters, writers and filmmakers warning that “democracy is not a majoritarian project to identify enemies and enforce uniformity of language, behaviour and culture”. It added, “Democracy is the celebration of a collective will for peace, of living together with dignity and equality.”
Our hearts are with Sharmila, his children Kattyayani & Kashyap, and his family and friends.