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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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In April 2007, Mithu Sen advertised a ‘summer dhamaka’ online called the Free Mithu project, in which she invited friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to send her a ‘letter with love’ in exchange for a free artwork by her, in a medium of their choice. For almost two years, Mithu has collected various forms of ‘letters’ – including two diaries, a box of mangoes, a sweater, works of art, an evening walk, a shared lemon cake and the dictation of a love letter– from a wide range of participants across the world. Through still-ongoing interactions with these contributors, Free Mithu has become part of a personal journey that explores the fragile notions of sincerity, generosity, and gift-giving and probes the meaning of this project for Mithu’s art practice and a broader contemporary market-driven art culture.

Mithu invited all to view and experience the Free Mithu project as a total conceptual artwork and experimental form. The presentation at KHOJ was an event/performance and included the letters received, individual gift-wrapped works made for each participant, and documentation and analysis of the project to date. Through an online blog, guestbook and lottery of three ‘prize’ works to be conducted on site, there were further opportunities for communication and exchange with the artist.

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