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What It Means To Be Free

What It Means To Be Free

What It Means To Be Free



A seven-letter word that means different things to different people.

Whether we dress and act in certain ways, travel to far-flung destinations, identify as a night owl or an early bird, freedom exists in every choice we make. The liberty to lead the life we want, to speak the language we choose.

As India’s 75th year of independence dawns, we dream on through art in its varied forms that celebrates freedom in its many splendoured manifestations:


Untitled, 2009 by Suhasini Kejriwal, transforming everyday into the extraordinary


Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” 

― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own


Freedom To Explore, 2019 by Rithika Merchant


In her series Aerial Women, Merchant draws from the rich visual vocabulary of botanicals and fantastical winged women from mythological stories across the globe that represent a powerful and liberated sort of femininity. This painting depicts imagined aerial perspectives of landscapes that the winged woman might see during her flight, filled with celestial shapes, suggesting an entrance into a higher realm, a space of freedom and lightness.



Here, our long-time collaborator photographer Rema Chaudhary portrays a solitary individual drifting through the void with a sense of unadulterated freedom. (Image via Platform Mag)


 A Freedom of the Human Spirit, Study, Bronze, Marshall M. Fredericks, 1964, From the collection: Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum


The Freedom of the Human Spirit was originally sculpted for the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. It stood in the Court of States area of the fair. In explanation, Fredericks has said:

The idea was that these human beings, these people-us, do not have to be limited to the earth, to the ground. We can free ourselves mentally and spiritually whenever we want to, if we just try to do so.


‘I feel like when I’m dancing… I feel seen the way I want to be seen.’


Artist Annie Edwards embraces her love of movement and music with a drive for social justice in a short film from Safe to Be Me, a creative festival of dance organised by the Scottish Ballet for young people aged 10–25. Watch the whole film here. 


 Shantanu & Nikhil and Obeetee pay homage to India through a brand new collection of luxurious carpets via AD India


Designers Shantanu & Nikhil give new-age expressions to what ‘Independence' means to them. They derive inspiration from the three most luxurious forms of freedom— to choose, to live and to call oneself a proud citizen. The vibrant carpets within this theme exhibit bold victory flag patterns, a palette of red and navy reflecting the power of the army, and the undying spirit of valour through symbols and motifs utilised during national celebrations.


 Dancing Woman, Rabindranath Tagore, 1928/1940, From the collection: National Gallery of Modern Art


Tagore represents a combined structure that is half bird, half human. The bird/human can be seen swaying along with wind creating a sense of happiness and freedom. This image, however, possesses oppositional reading whereby to some audiences it may appear as if the artist is trying to compare a bird to a human in order to create the realization that we humans cannot fly and be as free as birds. On the other hand it may be interpreted that freedom does not require you to have wings, thus symbolizing equality within humans whereby we are all capable and deserve to live a free life.


Give me the long, straight road before me,

A clear, cold day with a nipping air,

Tall, bare trees to run on beside me,

A heart that is light and free from care.

Then let me go! – I care not whither

My feet may lead, for my spirit shall be

Free as the brook that flows to the river,

Free as the river that flows to the sea. 

― Olive Runner