‘Lighted Cave’ by Tapan Moharana, presented by Space 118
The artist has brought elements from Rabana Chhaya, a form of shadow puppetry practised in his home state of Odisha, into his sculptural practice. The roots of this work lie in the early months of the pandemic, when Moharana returned from his studio in Delhi to his family home in Odisha. He began to reconnect with the folk traditions, combining them with unfired clay objects, leather cuttings and black paper silhouettes to etch out a story. Just like the Rabana Chhaya tells stories of the good and bad in human nature, Lighted Cave too looks at the light and dark in society, while focusing on issues such as poverty and caste-based inequalities.
‘Different Danny and Other Stories’ by Amshu Chukki, presented by Chatterjee & Lal
A set of six images catch the eye, showing bodies jumping, leaping, stretching, and more. In these works by Amshu Chukki, the “behind-the-scenes” of a cinema production comes under the spotlight. One meets props and stunt doubles, or dupes as they are known in the film world. “Amshu Chukki foregrounds these skills, devices and conditions to conjure an atmosphere that complicates labour and its relationship to the architecture of cinema,” mentions the curatorial note.
‘Inversion, Incision, Immateriality ’by Ayesha Singh and Abhimanyu Dalal, presented by Shrine Empire and Space Studio
Both artist Ayesha Singh and architect Abhimanyu Dalal have explored the form of built structures in their work. While the former looks at the omissions of histories in construction, Dalal investigates materiality in design. At the fair, the two have brought their sensibilities together to create an installation of kinetic lights, wood and metal. For this work, they identified over a hundred languages spoken in India, including scripts no longer used or forgotten. The alphabets from the scripts have been layered in the installation, which takes the form of an inverted pyramid. Through this, several intentional and coincidental combinations are formed, across Arabic, Brahmi, Bodo, Devanagari, English, Khasi and many other scripts, thus generating new encounters of the written and the spoken,” mentions the curatorial note.
Contemporary miniatures by Waswo x Waswo and R Vijay, presented by Gallery Espace
There is a sense of the fantastical in new miniatures by Waswo x Waswo and R Vijay. One can see a man fishing out a shoal of hearts from a pool, while another man lies under a tree of hearts. A set of leaping fish watch on as these dream-like scenes play out. These detailed and multi-layered works play on themes of history, colonialism and contemporary identities.
‘Home is Wherever You Are’ by Rekha Rodwittiya, presented by Sakshi Gallery
Rekha Rodwittiya’s practice has always drawn from the way she negotiates the world. She has responded to the experiences of living through the pandemic in her new works, which are coded and stitched into the larger tapestry of her paintings. That is palpable in her creation, ‘Home is Wherever You Are (2020), a watercolour and digital work, featuring powerful feminine imagery.
Textile works by Selva de Carvalho, presented by Karla Osorio
The works at the booth of this Brazilian gallery represent the evolution of Carvalho in the past 3 years. Using embroidery, painting and sculpture, the artist explores the body of things—both living and inanimate. “I look at the body of the fabric, being crossed by the needle, and at the line that penetrates and draws, the reliefs and creases formed, their malleability, rigidity, resistance,” says the artist in an email interview. She looks at her own body and how it responds to the act of embroidering, “...the breathing, the cadence of the movement, the structural adjustments, the necessary distances between the body and the fabric,” elaborates Carvalho.
‘Anand’ by Vaishali Oak, presented by Vida Heydari Contemporary
The new series of textile works focus on the happiness associated with nature. This is in sync with Oak’s practice, which explores the relationship between fabric, nature and art. In the last three years, this fibre-artist from Pune has created a style that draws on the local quilting practice called godhadi.
Untitled’ by Bhagyashree Suthar, presented by Akara Art
The artist’s work has always been unique. They are marked by a strong voice, articulated through unique materials such as beeswax—a material she first used while studying encaustic painting at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. The works on display at the fair deal with utopian worlds and imagined architectural spaces.
Nemai Ghosh’s photos of Satyajit Ray, presented by the Kolkata Centre for Creativity
There is a lovely image of Satyajit Ray painting a sculpture on a film set, and another evocative one of the auteur caught up in the emotion of a scene while the actors perform. These images of Ray by Nemai Ghosh are on display at the Kolkata Centre for Creativity booth, and are drawn from The Satyajit Ray Centenary Show (Volume I) organised in collaboration with Gallery Rasa. The images and posters of Ray’s films showcase the lesser-known aspects of his creative process.
‘Tilism’ by Ifthikar and Elizabeth Dadi, presented by Jhaveri Contemporary
By bringing together objects of pop culture, photography and sculpture, the US-based artists explore notions of identities and borders. “Their work draws on the tropes of archaeology and media, and critically engages with the legacies of Pop Art, Conceptual Art, and site-specificity,” mentions the curatorial note.
‘Evacuation’ by Khadim Ali, presented by Gallery Latitude 28
Hailing from the Hazra community, his family fled Afghanistan to escape persecution. Even in Quetta, Ali’s life could not rid itself of violence. A suicide bomber blew himself up in the neighbourhood, just outside his parent’s house. “The first room of that house was my studio,” says Ali in an artist statement. His parents were badly injured, and all that survived through the debris and fragments were rugs. That’s when he realised that if he didn’t change his medium to something resilient, his works would vanish with every explosion. He combined his training in miniature and mural painting from Tehran and Lahore with weaves. In his work, he delves into his familial memories for his work. When his family fled Afghanistan, they carried two books with them, the Quran and Shahnameh—an epic poem composed between 977 and 1010 by Firdausi, and these form as references in is art. His work gains a universal value as events of persecution are taking place across the world with increasing rapidity.
‘Last Supper’ triptych by Madhvi Parekh, presented by DAG
This work is part of DAG’s showcase of masterpieces spanning 200 years of Indian art. In this large work, Parekh brings together the Renaissance depictions of Christ with her vibrant and unique style derived from Indian folk art. The section has been curated by Giles Tillotson, senior vice president (exhibitions and publications), DAG.
‘Parda Hey ke Chilman Se Lagey Bethey Hein….” by Khalil Chishtee, presented by Studio Art
Chishtee, born in Lahore and based in New York, is known for his figural sculptures made with plastic bags to raise questions about humanity and the ‘plastic age’ that we are living in. The work on display at the fair carries forth his engagement with Arabic and Urdu poetry, going beyond the text to offer a satirical comment on the issues of our times.
‘Smoke’ by Sunil Patwardhan, presented by Vadehra Art Gallery
This work by Patwardhan at the India Art Fair is a deeply poignant one. It reflects on the destructive spree that we have embarked on, and are now facing consequences of that. The work shows a man stoking a fire inside his house. The resulting smoke slithers outside the window to find its way back inside the house. Patwardhan presents these complex ideas through depictions of the life and times of the common man. “Patwardhan is a visual artist whose work primarily concerns the cityscape, with its constituent people in their everyday particularities comprising his dramatis personae,” mentions the gallery note.
‘Fire stokers’ by Vivek Vilasini, presented by Sakshi Gallery
This work is a must-see at the fair. It's dramatic visual makes you stop and think about existing social structures and cultural identities. Vilasini's works are always very cinematic in nature—he earlier created his version of The Last Supper with 13 Kathakali dancers and later with burqa-clad women—and this work is no different.
‘Breath’ by Dhruvi Acharya, presented by Chemould Prescott Road
The work might seem familiar to viewers, who have seen Acharya's paintings and paper works in the past. Only this time, she has created her signature figures, with their exaggerated eyes and forms, glazed stoneware. Titled, Breath, it seems a poignant reminder of the second wave of the pandemic, when the reflexive act of breathing became a challenge.