Desertion of Lost artists in the Novella – The Artists of Disappearance by Anita Desai

Artists who create the magnificent form of artwork usually portray their inner personality in there all forms of art. They represent who they are, and how their psyche is. The creators of extraordinary art live a life of incompleteness, dullness, and hollowness within themselves.

Their creativity glorifies their inner self and how miserable their life is. All legendary wizards of art contribute incredible work despite having and living a horrible life. Whether it is Shakespeare who lost her 8yr old daughter, or whether it is Franz Kafka who had a fractured/failed relationship with his own father, or whether it is J.K. Rowling who had lived a miserable life striving between her failed career and failed family life while being a single mother, these all examples are basically the real lives of these great writers who imprinted their skills and printed their hands in the history of literature forever.

There are serval times when artists fail living in a complicated society when they are being judged and due to several cultural mishaps, which affect their lives. Likewise, The Novella “Artists of Disappearance” is one among them.

Artists of Disappearance – A Novella about unsuccessful Artists

This is a Novella, which is only one of its kind in its own way because this novel which has 3 novellas within it talks about what happens when the artists fail to satisfy their piece of art?  How can an artist fail in his forte? For a writer/ or an artist the art is the reason why they survive in this uncanny world where there is a bridge between the writer and the injustices held against them, which ultimately oppose a writer to create their art! Readers will experience some kind of queries in their heads if they read these stories written by Anita Desai.

The writer had beautifully written these stories especially for the contemporary readers who are bustling their life and don’t have much time to read. But this Novella is amazing as all the 3 stories are somewhere relatable to readers of all ages.

“The Museum of Final Journey” –

This is the first novella of this book which is narrated by an unnamed Government bureaucrat who wanted to be a writer but unfortunately had to suppress his long writing career due to his father’s dream and expectation of his son to follow his footsteps and become a govt bureaucrat. As the story moves forward, we see that in the later years of the life of the narrator when he was a junior official and was posted into one of the remote areas, he describes his past experience as a flashback to the readers.

His experience was something which brought him in a state of apathy when one day an old man who was the caretaker of the “Mukherjee estates”  came to the office for a favor to rescue the treasures of the states as some people were stealing it and disrespecting those precious things by exporting it to other countries. The Museum, which was now an abandoned museum for the residents living there, still had authentic elements present in it.

As the narrator quotes that: “While others dreamt dreams and lived lives of imagination and adventure, my role was only to take care of the mess left by them.” When the official comes in counter with the museum, he realizes the art and his life, his life is rusty and mundane like the dust-covered on the treasure’s museum, even if he tries to save the estate the art will be auctioned by other greedy people. When the artist dies, the art is never protected rather it becomes a means for greedy people to fulfill their needs.

The narrator finds himself and the Museum similar and ended his story by having this grief that he should have followed his dream, yet he was a failed writer whose life was hollowed and gloomy.

“Translator, Translated”

Another story of a journey of a Failed writer, who is the protagonist of the story, named “Prema”, whose life was miserable and uncertain. She lived a mundane life as an English professor in a girl’s school where her own students mocked her and criticized her due to her appearance and her age. She didn’t have any goal and she always compared and envied her life with others, especially with one of her school acquaintances “Tara” who was now an editor head in a feminist publishing company.

When these 2 characters collide in one of the school programs, Tara allowed her to do a translating job. Initially, Prema’s journey as a translator was like a “Carousel”, but things fall apart when she tried to translate an Oriya book written by Suvarna Devi into English which later on ended her writer career ultimately.

Translating is a form of art that depends on how the translator deals with the language and brings the best piece of all. It becomes a sentimental concern if the translated work is not satisfied by the readers. This is what happened in the end, as her translated book didn’t receive much appreciation and in the end, Prema lost her dream to become an eminent writer and went back to her mundane life of being an English professor.

Her failure proves to us that, as the art fairs, the artists die! As the artist in Prema was dead when the art didn’t flourish. Her ability to write was dead when she drained by her own skills and failed with her own existence as an artist.

“The Artist of Disappearance” –

This is the title story of the novella with a protagonist named “Ravi” who had an unfortunate life who had been adopted at a very young age by a very wealthy couple. Even living in a mansion which was located at the foothills of the Himalayas, he never loved his life as his life was not peaceful like the other kids of his age. He had neglected parents who used to beat him up and used to leave him and traveled to Europe without having any concern for their son.

He was always caged in the house and what he always wanted is “Freedom”. This is what every artist wants to be free from the clutches of society, to think freely and exploring themselves.

In a fire accident when he lost his parents, he became to be with himself away from the social life and created much great artwork in his own house. His artwork was so much amazing that people who were filming near the village wanted to expose his work but he denied it and wanted to live an isolated life with his art.

The last story of Ravi proves that an artist is always attached to his work and never wants to leave it. Whether they fail or flourish, art is the reason which keeps them alive.

Though unnamed official, Prema and Ravi failed, their failures in there art form kept them alive from this undeserving world where they are not accepted for their art and yet these artists choose a life living in uncertainty with a certainty of hope hidden in their hearts and that surely one day they will reach their destination.