Thursday, May 2, 2013

Holocaust Memories to Cultural Blackening...

Blackening by Nikhil Chopra at KNMA, New Delhi

As a part of the ongoing ‘Inhabiting the Museum’ series at the KiranNadar Museum, New Delhi, from 4th to 10th May 2013, noted performance artist, Nikhil Chopra occupy the premises of the KNMA located at a posh mall in South Delhi and redefine it through his spontaneous drawings and performative acts. Titled ‘Blackening’, Chopra’s performance is the fourth in the ongoing series. On 4th May the program will start at 10.30 am. The performance will be followed by a performance workshop conducted by Chopra himself and other two artists, Jana Prepeluh and Madhavi Gore. Limited seats are available and pre-booking is advised.

‘Inhabiting the museum’ program is an ongoing series of performance-events. Artists are invited to play with the idea of inhabiting the space of the museum or create caesuras in its seemingly free-flowing temporality or negotiate with different times / durations that overlap, layer and co-exist within the museum space. The curatorial framework of this series encourages artists to create ‘situations’ of extended duration, to be catalysts or subjects of that spent/mapped/fatigued duration and to strain the relationship between time and space.”

On 10th May 2013 at 4.30 pm, Nikhil Chopra will give a lecture on the topic, Memory Drawing, and the session is open to all.

(from TAD Desk)

Canadian government funds Holocaust-Era Art research 

The Canadian government has allotted funds for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, in partnership with 31 other countries. A whopping $190,000 was donated to provenance research for Holocaust Era Art at the nation's museums. The Canadian Art Museum Directors Association will collaborate with six Canadian museums including the Winnipeg Art gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario on this project.

Josephine Mills, the President of the CanadianArt Museum Directors Association says  'With the support of the Canadian government  directors of Canadian museums and galleries will develop their professional expertise and contribute to the international call for transparency, justice and closure, in one of the most sordid chapters of 20th century history'.

In view of the provenance research, the Montreal Museum of fine Arts returned a 17th century paintings, ‘The Duet’ by Dutch artist Gerrit van Honthorst to the grandson of the Jewish art collector Bruno Spiro, who was forced to sell the painting during the Second World War. ‘The Duet’ is the cover lot of Christie’s Old Master paintings sale to be held on 5th June in New York, and is estimated to fetch $2m - $3m.

Images source:

(The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has returned Gerrit van Honthorst's The Duet, 1623-24, to the grandson of the Jewish art collector Bruno Spiro)

(report by Sushma Sabnis)

Mumbai 17 - Dharavi Through the Eyes of Children

The False Ceiling Gallery, Bandra West, Mumbai, presents a show titled ‘Mumbai 17’. The show is put together by The Dharavi Art Room, Mumbai from the 3rd of May to the 11th of May 2013.

Like happy blooming lotuses rising and smiling from a murky pond, the children of Dharavi, present 18 months of art works in the form of paintings, drawings and photographs which depict an optimistic picture of their tough lives in Dharavi, Mumbai’s slum area.

The exhibition is being held for the second consecutive year and the project was initiated by Bombay Underground with the support of Reality Gives. The aim of the project has been to dispel any negativity of peoples’ attitudes towards Dharavi by displaying an intimate, open, first person perspective of life inside of Dharavi, through the eyes of children living there. The project also aims to bring the community together and solve issues using art as a medium.

(Report by Sushma Sabnis and images sourced from The Dharavi Art Room)

To Be Water- A Collaborative Project at 1 Shanti Road, Bangalore

1Shanti Road, Bangalore hosts a collaborative art project and installation, addressing the importance of water as a source and force of life. This project acts as a commencement to various aspects and themes surrounding water, as a metaphor for human actions and reactions and the very essence of life itself.

The contributors to this art project have been from various fields and hence the show promises to be eclectic in expressions of the one theme. Art works, in the form of objects, containers, texts, poems, songs, installations, build the very colourful fabric of this show.
The show starts with song recital by Sumathi Murthy.

The other participants are, Umesh Kumar P.N, Abhisheka, Bharatesh, Neeraj, Roghini Malur, Meena Kandasamy, Zeenath Hasan, Suresh Jayaram, Mona, Ricardo, Christoph, Ayisha Abraham, Kaustubh, Sophea, Romal, Vasu Dev, Dimple Shah, Prakash Gowda, Arka Mukhopadhyay, Raghu Kondur, Clemence Barret, Smitha Carriappa, Sangeetha Kadur among many others.

The show opens on 3rd May 2013, and will be on view till the 7th May 2013 at the 1Shanti Road Studio Gallery, Bangalore.

(Report by Sushma Sabnis)


Delhi based designer and photography artist Anandita Bishnoi trains her lens at the mundane and sees how the accidental images represent the machismo attitude of our general society. Partly playful, partly cynical, partly ironic and completely grave these images as shown by Bishnoi tell us the story of our times of societal aggressions and imbalances. Anandita Bishnoi speaks about her own works. 

(Machismo by Anandita Bishnoi)

(Deprived by Anandita Bishnoi)

This series of photographs is an exploration of masculinity, sexuality and the distortion of both as I see and experience around me. 

The visuals are hard, bold and strong. They have a raw and volatile energy about them, which correlates to the complex underpinnings of the male psyche in society.

These images express my questions about the complexities of human psychology and the objectification of women, and I wonder is it the perversion of this long-run objectification that leads to such brutality.

‘Deprived’ shows an obscure object all alone in a vast space. There is something sad about it, however a sense of maddening rage creeps in. When you spend some time with this image, it takes you on a journey where your emotions transition from loneliness to frustration to anger to violence to rage, not necessarily in that order. I was intrigued by the connection between the passive switch and active wire in ‘Consensual?’. It reminded me of the relationships I observe around me. 

The image ‘Machismo’ is unnatural and aggressive. The image of these simple objects violating the space around them is an analogy to the December ‘12 rape.

By themselves and even more so when the association with the theme is established, these images evoke a sense of disgust and serious discomfort. Like what sexuality has been reduced to.

(Consensual by Anandita Bishnoi)

The combination of the passive nature of the switch and how active the wire next to it is, makes this image interesting. Much like in relationships, this conflicting energy goes unnoticed or ignored.

Memory Lane 

Ray- The Culture Man

 Today is the 92nd birthday of Late Satyajit Ray. The Art Daily pays tributes to the memory of the late film maker, writer and Renaissance Genius of India. 

"While Satyajit Ray insists on retaining the real cultural features of the society that he portrays, his view of India — even his view of Bengal — recognizes a complex reality, with immense heterogeneity at every level. It is not the picture of a stylized East meeting a stereotypical West, which has been the stock-in-trade of so many recent writings critical of "Westernization" and "modernity." Ray emphasized that the people who "inhabit" his films are complicated and extremely diverse. Take a single province: Bengal. Or, better still, take the city of Calcutta where I live and work. Accents here vary between one neighbourhood and another. Every educated Bengali peppers his native speech with a sprinkling of English words and phrases. Dress is not standardized. Although women generally prefer the sari, men wear clothes, which reflect the style of the thirteenth century or conform to the directives of the latest Esquire. The contrast between the rich and the poor is proverbial. Teenagers do the twist and drink Coke, while the devout Brahmin takes a dip in the Ganges and chants his mantras to the rising sun. It is important to note that the native culture which Ray stresses is not some pure vision of a tradition-bound society, but the heterogeneous lives and commitments of contemporary India. The Indian who does the twist is as much there as the one who chants his mantras by the Ganges. The recognition of this heterogeneity makes it immediately clear why Ray's focus on local culture cannot be readily seen as an "anti-modern" move. "Our culture" can draw on "their culture" and "their culture" can draw on our culture." The emphasis on the culture of the people who inhabit Ray's films is in no way a denial of the legitimacy of the interest in things originating elsewhere. Indeed, Ray recollects with evident joy the time when Calcutta was full of Western (including American) troops, in the winter of 1942: Calcutta now being a base of operations of the war, Chowringhee was chock-a- block with GIs. The pavement book stalls displayed wafer-thin editions of Life and Time, and the jam-packed cinema showed the very latest films from Hollywood. While I sat at my office desk ... my mind buzzed with the thoughts of the films I had been seeing. I never ceased to regret that while I had stood in the scorching summer sun in the wilds of Santiniketan sketching simul and palash in full bloom, Citizen Kane had come and gone, playing for just three days in the newest and biggest cinema in Calcutta. This interest in things from elsewhere had begun a lot earlier. Ray's engagement with Western classical music goes back to his youth, and his fascination with films preceded his involvement with music."

( From Ray and the art of Universalism: Our Culture, Their Culture by Amartya Sen)

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