1983, I started to paint the village fairs or melas
that I had seen in my childhood. It began as a series
that would express the joy and the happiness of
ordinary people enjoying themselves at the seasonal
fairs. But then terrorism broke out in the Punjab
and shattered the lives of the people. Violence
and fear were everywhere. The color of life turned
red and gray, the mela was set on fire.
In the Mela paintings I have used motifs from
the hand embroidered Fulkari and baagh, the most
celebrated expression of Punjabi culture, as a
pictorial space. The distorted motifs appear as
the visual space ablaze on fire.