by Meghna MehtaFeb 08, 2020
At the beginning of the New Year, the red carpets are rolled out to welcome an array of art exhibitions and art biennales across South Asia. As the season of the arts soars high, one ought to lay eyes on some of the finest artworks and familiarise oneself with the buzzing trends. Keeping with the sanctity of the season, this year, the exhibition ‘Visions in the Making’ at the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi, in association with STIR and the India Art Fair, promises to offer art with a slice of cross-cultural exchange between six women artists from Italy and South Asia.
The exhibition, curated by Myna Mukherjee and Davide Quadrio, features artists Amina Ahmed, Natascia Fenoglio, Stefania Galegati Shines, Marta Roberti, Shilo Suleman and Gopa Trivedi. Often, subliminally, the male perspective drives the concept of modernity where the women are held in absentia. Defying these notions, the exhibition adds layers to the meaning of modernity. As the title suggests, the novel vision of the women, by the women, for the women, are in the making.
The project, supported by Arthub, Hong Kong and Engendered, New Delhi, aimed to conduct a research on the signs, forms and materials by three Italian women artists as part of the curatorial project. The tangible and even the intangible salient features of the local and regional artworks over the years have managed to sustain themselves under the guise of economic and cultural development. This opens a space for creative collaboration between the artists, separated by their home nations but united by their artistic proclivity. Soon, initial thoughts of the project were broadened to bring together three South Asian women artists who highlight the aesthetics, politics and pedagogic legacy of the region with their work. To expand the scope of the exhibition, the alternate satellite site at the India Art Fair, with a new genre of public and performance art with hybrid and temporal displays of art, installations, works-in-progress and performances, lays importance on gender parity and women empowerment through decision-making.
When it comes to the decision of purchasing a piece of land, the voice of women is close to negligible. To lend an artist’s perspective on this finding, Stefania Galegati Shines creates two carpets and titles them Let’s Buy the Island of the Females. The specific paintings of islands that Shines has been working on for many years, with textile techniques and digital printing, have been given the shape of the carpet. Interestingly, the form and design of the carpets hint at its dual functionality: as a part of interior décor and a common denomination for land purchase. Besides, through this aerial installation, Shines showcases a video and a sculpture in the form of an island made out of red soil from the matriarchal village named Nrityagram.
Unlike the western notion of time that is developed on the scale of linearity, in the east, time is understood to be running in a circular motion, where the points of starting and ending could overlap. Working on a similar idea is the participatory work Grief, Loss, Sorrow by the artist Amina Ahmed. Rooted in metaphors and symbols, Ahmed’s work brings home the fact that within the mortal self lives the cycle of life and death, and in submission to God lays the eternal truth.
Challenging the prejudices and stereotypes in a world dictated by sectarian values, her works on paper and wall, Transpositions I, II, III and Time: Staircase of my Spine, hint at the everyday struggle of the minority. When the noises all around tend to define one's existence, her work raises a pertinent question - what if she can command her authority over her representations?
With multiple themes and design formats at the exhibition, the artists go on to widen our horizon of vision as we dwell beyond the familiarity of our geographies and histories.
STIR in collaboration with India Art Fair presents ‘Visions in the Making’, on view till 28th February 2020 at the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi.