Tangled Up in Red | Putting It All On The Table
Putting It All On The Table was an art exhibition hosted by the MFA Design for Social Innovation department at SVA in January 2014. Students were invited to make a 3D visual statement about a social issue related to food, using a basic wooden table and chair as a starting point. Curated by Kevin O'Callaghan, Chair of the 3D Design Department at SVA, the pieces represented a variety of contemporary and relevant social issues in the United States and abroad. The exhibition was also featured in the New York Times.
My installation, Tangled Up in Red, was a visual representation of the corruption and bureaucracy that plagues the Public Distribution System in India.
Despite substantial economic progress over the past decade, India is still home to approximately one quarter of the world’s hungry population. It ranks 63rd in the Global Hunger Index 2013, and is one of the only three countries in the world outside Sub-Saharan Africa that has “alarming levels” of hunger, as cited by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide.
Ironically, India produces enough food-grains to feed its population of 1.2 billion. However, due to leakages in the country’s national Public Distribution System (PDS), it is estimated that only 25-30% of food-grains earmarked for the country’s poor actually make their way towards families living below the poverty line.
Although there are a number of factors that have contributed to the failure of the PDS, corruption and red tape have been cited as its biggest challenges. Over 70% of the budget set aside for Below Poverty Line households is wasted, stolen, sold in open markets for a higher price or used to pay for bureaucratic and administrative costs.
I wanted here to represent the bureaucratic red tape and corruption that keep available food-grains out of the reach of poor Indian families, and in the pockets of corrupt program administrators.