Five Indian artists reinterpreted William Hogarth’s 1751 painting to reinterpret gin

Five artists reinterpreted William Hogarth’s 1751 painting to reinterpret gin

Five artists reinterpreted William Hogarth’s 1751 painting to reinterpret gin

As early as 1751, English artist William Hogarth published two prints, Gin Lane and Beer Street, to depict the “evils” of drinking gin versus the benefits of beer.

Cut to 2022. Indian gin brand Greater Than launched Greater Lane, a special project inspired by William Hogarth’s paintings Beer Street and Gin Lane. The project featured five artists with distinctive styles who presented their modern interpretations of Hogarth’s Gin Lane.

William Hogarth’s paintings contrasted the evils of gin consumption with the virtues of drinking beer, a fact many were unaware of at the time. While Beer Street thrived in good spirits and abundance, Gin Lane was populated with death, despair and madness to encourage the English to denounce gin (regarded as the sole cause of immorality in society). These works of art were part reality and part propaganda.

Aparajita Ninan of Greater Than explains: “In 2022, the reality of gin has changed drastically. It’s about time even the most popular depiction of it changed. With that in mind, the brand launched Greater Lane by Greater Than.” Aparajita says, “Gin Lane was a propaganda piece. With no other representation of gin at the time, it served the purpose. ”

So how did Greater Than choose artists like Bob & Bobby, Jasjyot Singh Hans, Priya Kuriyan, Priyesh Trivedi and Shweta Sharma? Aparajita says, “We looked at artists who are popular and focused on social commentary works. As a result, the result was beautiful. Most artists have chosen to focus on life and society, some on private moments.”

The artists explain:

Bob&Bobby's painting

Bob&Bobby’s paintings | Photo credit: special agreement

Bob & Bobby: The original “Gin Lane” was made to turn the crowd against gin by showing chaos and violence. So we tried to reverse it by keeping celebration, love and acceptance at its core. Our artworks are for love and diversity, where people choose love over hate, won and celebrate with their favorite drink. The most exciting thing was being able to subtly overlay many messages and being able to adapt an artwork that was created more than 200 years ago.”

Mehfil by Jasjyot Singh Hans

Mehfil by Jasjyot Singh Hans | Photo credit: special agreement

Jasjyot Singh Hans: “Mehfil” is a reinterpretation of Hogarth’s original in a calmer, clearer context; the focus is on the novelty of an intimate moment. Here, laughter echoes in a crystal clear, surreal landscape as two friends share a drink over sweet things!

Artwork by Priya Kuriyan

The artwork by Priya Kuriyan | Credit: SHRIKANT N ARORA

Priya Kuriyan: At first glance, Gin Lane almost looks like everyone is being hit by a pandemic, which is ironic because while we were making it, we were in the midst of a pandemic ourselves. But what I love about the picture is that you notice something new every time you look at it. And so I wanted to create a gin lane that was reminiscent of that aspect of the original etching, but in stark contrast to it. I think that’s how I created an image that’s kind of joyful, intimate, and full of things I’ve been missing. Spontaneous encounters, chance encounters, happy get-togethers.

Priyesh Trivedi's painting

Priyesh Trivedi’s paintings | Photo credit: special agreement

Priyesh Trivedi: When I first saw William Hogarth’s original work, it just seemed like a parody of himself, like he was trying too hard to show the ills of gin drinking. The most exciting thing about working on this project and my interpretation of Gin Lane was that it fits very well with my practice where I work a lot with vintage imagery and archival footage and recontextualize it to make it darker or more subversive. rather tongue in cheek. And it’s also such a complex scene to work on because a lot is happening and you have to make sure it’s obvious like where it’s coming from and it also has a sense of artistic individuality. Putting it all together and making it a real cohesive piece of art, I think it was fun to work on and explore.

Schweta Sharma

Shveta Sharma | Photo credit: special agreement

Schweta Sharma: My basic vision for the reinterpretation was to create a world that is not defined by a single skin or dominant species. I wanted this world to be integrated into a deconstructed ecosystem where shared connotations change and everyone is allowed to dream and have fun. And it’s also very funny when I say that, because it felt like I was dreaming while I was doing it. So there is a literal dream section; There are humans, there are demi-humans, animals and birds that exist, and animals and birds that do not exist. But I would love to see characters from my favorite series of movies and cartoons, or in an unexpected but blissful environment where anything is possible.

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