Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fwd: August Newsletter: Closing Competitions and Future Visions

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Aesthetica Art Prize Call for Entries: 10 Days to Go

With only 10 days left in our countdown to the deadline for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016 Call for Entries, we take a closer look at what's in store for the winners of the internationally recognised award: showcasing their work to a wider audience, and the chance to win up to £5,000 courtesy of Hiscox. More »

Interview with Dr Seth Clabough: All Things Await

Dr. Seth Clabough's short story Sharing Wounds was published by Aesthetica when he was first starting out as a writer. Since then, Clabough has published his debut novel All Things Await, available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. More »

BAFTA Qualifying ASFF 2016: Tickets Now on Sale

ASFF returns to York this year for its sixth edition, running from 3 – 6 November. Screening passes and tickets are now on sale for the four-day event, which invites audiences to experience world-class cinema in a range of genres including comedy, drama and documentary. More »

Clément Cogitore

A floor down into Palais de Tokyo, the viewer is invited to experience a video installation by Clément Cogitore (b. 1983) which takes you further down the rabbit hole. The fact of being able to lie down on a person-sized pouf in front of a giant screen prepares you to let go of your everyday life. More »

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award Call for Entries

Now in its 10th year, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is currently open for entries presenting an opportunity for emerging and established writers to enter their written work for a chance to win publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2017. More »

Interview with Installation Artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva is a site-specific installation artist working across the varied media of sculpture, installation, video, sound and more. With a diversity of materials, namely organic matter, Aesthetica catch up with the artist about her new show at Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham: Making Beauty. More »

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Covering the latest news in contemporary art and culture from the UK and around the world. The magazine highlights some of the most important artists at work today, both established and emerging, through detailed features and stunning imagery. Subscribe today and save 30% on newsstand prices. More »

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fwd: Introducing Fall 2016 and a new MODERN website



From the Editor

The Fall issue of MODERN comes to you early, at a point when summer is not truly over. Most of us are sweltering, even those of us (me included) who have managed to get far enough north so that the thermometer manages to dip into the low 70s at night. As I write this, I am looking across a sand dune at a large body of water, which is a fine activity for the end of summer.


But enough about summer: even from a distant northerly perch, I am so pleased to be introducing MODERN's current issue to you on our beautiful new website. The website gives us enormous flexibility to post original and timely stories (a great asset for a quarterly magazine as MODERN is), as well as to enhance our print edition with slide shows and even an occasional video. You will see more "live" reporting from shows and sales, galleries and museums.

Architect, set designer, digital innovator, and product designer are just a few ways of describing David Rockwell. His multifarious approaches have expanded and redefined the architectural practice to encompass a remarkable breadth of projects that stretch from buildings and furniture to theater sets and virtual environments. Yet all share a common denominator: creating unique spatial experiences that change and enhance people's relationships to their surroundings.
Behind the Numbers

Lot 36 Phillips New York Design Sale, June 9, 2016: Armchair from The Millinery Department of The Hattie Carnegie Salon Designed by William Lescaze, Circa 1931. Estimated at $8,000–$12,000, the piece sold for $21,250.

A lone William Lescaze chair with an interesting story brought a high price at the Phillips New York Design Sale this past June. Matthew Kennedy explores the story behind it.
Form & Function: Three New York Galleries Find New Spaces

Nicole Anderson writes about the first U.S. location of Carpenter's Workshop's in midtown Manhattan, Annette Rose-Shapiro explores Twenty First Gallery's new space on 22nd Street and Sammy Dalati visits Todd Merrill Studio on the fringe of Chinatown.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fwd: Press Preview: Thursday, August 11th, 6-8PM, Go Figure | Curated by Salman Toor - Aicon Gallery New York

Aicon Gallery NY
Andrew Shea
Aicon Gallery
Go Figure 
Curated by Salman Toor
Exhibition: August 11 - September 17, 2016
Press Preview: Thursday, August 11, 2016, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Artists will be in attendance.
35 Great Jones St., New York NY 10012

Irfan HasanKain Zabija Abia, After Daniele Crepsi, 2016, Opaque watercolor on paper, 55 x 40 in.
Aicon Gallery is pleased to present Go Figure, an exhibition curated by artist Salman Toor, featuring the work of Komail Aijazuddin, Irfan Hasan, Saba Khan, Saad Qureshi, and Hiba Schahbaz, as well as the curator's own work.

This is the first gathering of these six artists in a U.S. group show. They are from different provinces, cities and social strata of Pakistan or the Pakistani diaspora in the United States and United Kingdom. Their work shows an impulse toward the illustrative, the graphic and the sensual. Their pictures range from imagined portraits, inner landscapes, female empowerment, quotations from Western Art History, queerness and kitsch. These artists are urban people but they play with pertinent particularities from their personal histories and those of their chosen cities, or homelands.

Irfan Hasan graduated from the National College of Arts in Lahore. Hasan focuses on an internalization, an absorption of European Old Master paintings from various periods of European history into the technical complexities used in traditional miniature painting on handmade paper. While Hasan's pictures point to the misleading nature of veneers and the profound way they shape our view of Art History and the world, these are complimented by Saad Qureshi's multimedia images of barren landscapes as inner, spiritual worlds, moving between abstraction and representation. 

Hiba Schahbaz, who finished at Pratt Institute and now lives and works in Brooklyn, does nude portraits, challenging perceived ideas about the prescribed role of images and women in Muslim cultures. Komail Aijazuddin, also a graduate of Pratt Institute, uses various traditions of religious art, playing with notions of belief, divinity, and blasphemy. His portraits/altarpieces of virile, sometimes hostile, young men combine the centrality of the idea of martyrdom in the Shia sect of Islam with a Byzantine visual vocabulary to create what he calls "Angry Icons."

Saba Khan, who graduated from the National College of Arts and Boston University, transforms the cheap local Pakistani middle class interior aesthetic into a celebration of over-sweetened bad taste with gleaming decorative materials. Following on his recent solo show at Aicon gallery in October 2015, Salman Toor paints imaginary multiethnic crowds, pointing to the anxieties of our post 9/11 world, and a psychological space where the global and personal concerns intersect.  

Please contact Aicon Gallery (Newyork@Aicongallery.com) for more information.
Aicon Gallery, 35 Great Jones Street, (bet Bowery and Lafayette Ave), New York, NY 10012

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fwd: Exhibition Invite| FICA Homepage 2016 | 25 July - 20 August 2016

FICA Homepage 2016
25 July - 20 August 2016
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The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) presents


25 July - 20 August 2016
11am - 7pm, Monday - Saturday

Venue: Vadehra Art Gallery
D-53, Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024

Solo Exhibition
Sites of Metamorphosis | Sachin George Sebastian
as part of FICA Emerging Artist Award 2014

Project Displays
Cultural Re-imaginations: Experiments in Creative Placemaking | Indrani Baruah
FICA Public Art Grant 2013
शोर : SHORE | Mrugen Rathod
FICA Public Art Grant 2014

The exhibition will feature workshops, talks and exhibition walkthroughs during the duration of the show. For final events schedule check www.ficart.org

The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA)  presents the second edition of Homepage, the exhibition that brings together the various artists and researchers supported by FICA's award and grant programmes. Homepage 2016 will include the solo exhibition of the FICA Emerging Artist Award 2014 recipient Sachin George Sebastian with a show titled Sites of Metamorphosis, and project displays by Indrani Baruah and Mrugen Rathod of their public art projects developed under the FICA Public Art Grant 2013 and 2014. Homepage is a marathon event of exhibitions and public programming with the main focus on making visible the year-long work that happens at FICA as part of its various grant programmes, eductional activities and collaborative platforms.

Other than the exhibitions Homepage 2016 will include a roster of events and workshops which are open to the public. This events section of the exhibition will focus on issues of art, craft and ecology, with a panel dedicated to issues around water, and a series of presentations around collaborative practices in arts and crafts. There will be two projects underway with FICA's Art Educators Forum, the an intensive workshop for art educators with Dr. Sarada Natarajan, and a teacher training programme in collaboration with Childscapes project of PVR Nest.

Continuing our focus on young curators, given our ongoing collaboration on Students' Biennale with Kochi Biennale Foundation, FICA will be hosting a public presentation and curation workshop with Polish curator Marta Smolinska. While her talk will focus on her curatorial practice, the workshop for young curators will address the issue of trans-regional dialogues and forms of curatorial writing.  There will also be a series of workshops for young artists during the duration of the show.

Additionally there will be walkthroughs of the exhibition for the public, students, and special groups. The complete schedule of the Homepage 2016 Events will be circulated shortly and will also be available by 23 July 2016 on the FICA website www.ficart.org

Collaborating organisations for the Events Section: Asia Art Archive, New Delhi; Students' Biennale – Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016; PondyART Foundation, Pondicherry; Toxics Link, New Delhi; Polish Institute, New Delhi.


Solo show by
Sachin George Sebastian
This exhibition emerges from a collaboration between The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council, New Delhi, and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, for the Emerging Artist Award 2014. While Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council, New Delhi hosted Sachin at Rote Fabrik, Zurich, Switzerland in 2015 for a three-month residency, Vadehra Art Gallery presents this solo show of his recent works.

Sites of Metamorphosis

The city and its mysterious power on the lives of individuals is the idea at the crux of Sachin's explorations in his solo Sites of Metamorphosis. The city takes residence within individuals who constitute it, permeating their bodies with its own materiality which the individuals carry forward into the future even moving outside the city's boundaries. Thus when we speak of transformation and change we trace it to multiple sites located within and outside the members who make the city. About this body of works Sachin explains, "I worked on the notion of how a city is continually transforming, changing its subjects as well itself and vice versa. Some find it a deep and obvious transition, some deal with it, some struggle, some give up, and some rise above the others. It seemed impossible for me to draw a line between those who change and those who change the city in the process."

For long Sachin has been engrossed with the city – the metropolis in particular like the one he lives in - engaging with it as a canvas where varied lives meet, clash and intermingle. In his new works the city makes itself his central subject once again but now he moves beyond a purely formal enagement and explores the emotional and psychological aspects of urban lives. He traces transformations in the city, its structure and fabric, on the one hand by engaging directly with the recognisable landscape of concrete buildings, telephone towers, entangled wires and architectural element, and on the other hand developing a new body of works which explore the experiential aspects of urban existence. There is a strong meditative quality to Sachin's practice that one can experience in the new series of works; a pause and a deep breath before one immerses themselves in the noise of the city.

Sachin George Sebastian is a New Delhi based artist who completed his under graduation in Communication Design from National Insitute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. His practice with paper and pop-up books led him to participate in a residency at Khoj on The Idea of the Book in 2009, following which he started working as independent artist. He has shown his works in various shows in the city and outside. Some recent participations includes Fractured, Site Specific Installation, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Dead Reckoning:Whorled Explorations, curated by Jitish Kallat; and Material Ruptures, curated by Meenakshi Thirukude, Exhibit 320, New Delhi, all in 2015. Beirut Art Fair, Small Art is Beautiful, Curated by Fabrice Bousteau; Incidents of Phenomena - travelling exhibition by Fondazione Pastificio Cerere & Basu Foundation for the Arts - India, Italy, Myanmar - curated by Veeranganakumari Solanki, Ilaria Gianni and Sein Myo Myint; and Kempinski Arts Programme, Budapest & Berlin, in 2014.

Cultural Re-imaginations: 
Experiments in Creative Placemaking

Public art project display by
Indrani Baruah
Cultural Re-imaginations brought ideas in vernacular architecture, visual arts and crafts together to launch a series of community-based public art initiatives in the public realm. The project utilized the River Brahmaputra, its riverfront and the urban spaces of Guwahati, Assam, as sites for experiments in creative placemaking. The three consecutive stages of the projects explored ideas in placemaking and sustainability by utilizing local building traditions, craftsmanship in basketry and weaving and attempted to create social spaces by galvanizing the community.

The project was initiated and developed by Indrani Baruah over three stages, of which Stage 3 was supported by FICA's Public Art Grant 2013. The project display will trace the entire life of the project with emphasis on its multi-faceted approaches to creative placemaking, creating a platform for hybrid initiatives focusing on the interface of art, environment, culture and vernacular crafts.

Indrani Baruah is an architect, visual artist and cultural researcher who practice is at the intersection of architecture, visual arts and cultural studies. She completed her formal training in architecture from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and later from School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon. She went on to doing the U.C. Berkeley Programs in Art; and Painting and Art History from Merritt College, Oakland, California. Her participation in exhibitions include Berkeley Arts Center, California (2010), Gensler, San Francisco, California (2010), Venice Biennale of Architecture, 2012: 13th Annual International Architectural Exhibition; Common Ground and INSERT 2014, IGNCA, New Delhi exhibition curated by Raqs Media Collective titled New Models on Common Ground: Re-imagining the Question of Cultural Infrastructure. She has been a recent speaker at the TEDx India series. Indrani received the Extending Arts Practice Grant from India Foundation for the Arts in 2012 and the FICA Public Art Grant in 2013. Her work has been published in IASTE, University of California, Berkeley, Society of Architectural Historians and Art and Deal.

शोर : SHORE

Public art project display by
Mrugen Rathod
शोर reads as a homonym, meaning both Noise and its reference to the sea (sea shore in this context). In this project Mrugen intiated collaborative endeavours that brought together the traditional artists of Odisha to create a dialogue around the impending degeneration of natural resources and the arts in the state; using both to actively create a substantial stand. Located across various towns in Odisha, the project engaged with the intricacies beyond the apparent environmental / ecological reading looking at finer concerns of the contemporaneous situation of traditional art / handicrafts, its dynamics in a consumerist / capitalist market, politics of propaganda, disparity in sustenance measures, vigil of the society, government policies and law amongst other concerns. The display will include narratives, objects and texts that came out of collaborative efforts between the various members of this project, and attempt to extend certain dialogues into the gallery space.

Mrugen Rathod completed his BVA and MVA from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda. In his practice he chooses to merge elements from his immediate environment to make works which are a gesture of giving back to nature. With a keen engagement on place/space and ecology Rathod's work is about engaging in a dialogue with our fragile environment. He has participated in various group shows such as New Documents curated by Rahul Bhattacharya, New Delhi in 2011; Monster's Factory at Tank, Diesel exhibiting space, Fort, Mumbai in 2014;  let US face the future (solo) at Time Equities Inc. as part of the Art-in-Buildings program, Manhattan, New York in 2012. He has developed work in several residencies including Sandarbh, Rajasthan, 2011; Kashi Art Residency, Kochi, 2011; Cultural Residency by Art and Deal Magazine at Puri, Odisha, 2011; Art OMI, New York, 2012; Space 118, Mumbai; S. N. Sultan Art Residency in Bangladesh, 2013; Vijayanagar Residency at JSW, Hampi, 2014; Yatoo International at South Korea, 2015; and GNAP (Global Nomadic Art Project), Gujarat, 2015. He received the FICA Public Art Grant 2014 for his project SHORE in Odisha, for which he collaborated with Utsha Foundation for Contemporary Art, Bhubaneswar.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fwd: A Part Apart - G. Mahesh & Raju Patel | John's Freetown - Saviya Lopes | Art Night Thursday


A Part Apart - G. Mahesh & Raju Patel 

opens 6 pm - 10pm

9 June 2016,  Clark House Bombay 

Art Night Thursday 

Exhibition continues all days except Mondays from 10 June to 10 July 2016 11 - 7 pm.  

curated by Venkatraman Divakar 


Clark House commences on a path of curatorial projects by invited curators who dwell on questions of conceptualism,  alternate art history and extending the reach of black arts particularly in the context of India and the diaspora.  Accessibility,  Immigration advocacy ,  Gender & Sexual freedoms ,  anti-caste and anti-racism become the points of departure for these projects.  We hope to invite curators and artists from countries where artistic practice is precarious for reasons that may be political and economical to benefit from out ablities of hosting and low intensive production and outreach.  

V.  Divakar is the first of the curators invited to lead the inaugural project ,  Noman Ammouri from Hyderabad  and Aryakrishnan Ramakrishnan from New Delhi will present their curatorial productions in the coming months.  

 V.Divakar is an art critic and curator based in Baroda,  Western India.  He began an experimental art space in Baroda calles Knots where he is a curator.  ' The Baroda Pamphlet'  a bimonthly edition on the arts that reflects on art practice,  the confluences of art history and politics is edited by him.  He is also the curator at the "Conflictorium- A museum of conflict" , Ahmedabad,  Gujarat.  



 Raju Patel ( Watercolour on Paper)


Curatorial Note: 
It is common sense that the Indian art scene cannot be viewed as a whole or as an assemblage of parts associated, a unitary system. Such an effort is futile because we are still debating upon whether we are still yet a nation in the first case. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has clearly stated that India is a conglomeration of caste interests and doesn't have a sense of brotherhood and mutual respect for people of different regions, communities. But unfortunately or deliberately the cultural and artistic frameworks always treat the different expressions within this geographical boundary as to somehow fall within the categories of an imagined yet to be nation. The question of an individual identity from different social backgrounds are conflated within the reduced concept of nation defined and is being continously done by casteist brahmanical forces which have been in power for thousands of years in this region. The aesthetic categories hitherto which were termed bhramanic or in the current times as contemporary art try every possible means in conflating the different regional, national and individual aspirations and expressions into these futile discriminatory frameworks. Thus doing so they negate and ignore expressions which are outside the simulated idea of the bhramanic national artistic ethos. Interestingly however the neither resistance to this got suppressed nor was been able to erase. However tyrannical the systems have been, the arts that portray difference survive and are becoming more and more assertive.  

The art practice inculcated in the art schools since the colonial times  and untill now have actually been able to systematically deny entry to communities who were the real practitioners of art from past. The artistic knowledge produced earlier were largely by the artisanal communities whose practice of art was not removed from their daily life. The setting up off modern art schools actually broke that relation between the individual and his surroundings and enabled in the production of artistic knowledge abstracted from the real life conditions of labour and life. If one could even gloss through the famous artists who are the champions of modernity one can easily make out quantitatively which community they belong to. The artisanal and the depressed classes who were the practitioners of the craft and art traditions are always referred to in anonymous terms to hide their actual caste status in the graded hierarchical system. The modern art practitioners clearly boast their caste status as the symbol of the cultured and modern values. The cultural capital which was inherited from the feudal era transformed into modern definition of taste not by updating and including everybody but by appropriating and destroying the communities which retained the artistic heritage.   

In today's context too the same methodology continues but in even more sinister ways. The development of art market, the sprouting of numerous art schools, expansion of creative activities in every urban phenomenon, all but retained one thing, the graded caste hierarchy intact. The alternatives which have even sprouted questioning the economical disparities and social concerns in the aesthetic realm too have actually reinstated and strengthened the caste order but have not questioned it.

It's within such a clearly defined bhramanical aesthetic field today artists like Raju Patel and G.Mahesh assert their expression in their specific ways. Both these artists come from outside the bhramanic grades and belong to tribal and artisanal communities. The attempt here is however not to place their practice within this reduced identity as is the norm today. The attempt is to bring to fore the different spiritual universe they belong to as is seen in their respective expressions. One thread which may possibly bring together their works is their relation with the immediate and through it the spiritual. Each of them emphatically and sensitively subverts the exoticisation and eroticisation of the people they portray. However one can trace some references to schools and particular artists who are celebrated by the privileged they significantly differ from those references in their identification with the subject they treat. This subjective identification allows the spiritual to enter in the mundane and the ordinary as they see in their life and also in the works. It's exactly in this arrival of the spiritual, the humanity in their works bloom , breaking the aesthetic borders of differences and reduced identities that the art world and the society at large has imposed. And of course the spiritual as seen in their works and mentioned here doesn't belong to the scriptural traditions in this part of the world. They belong to the land, air, water and the living things that inhabit this world.       


Bombay 2016 





Raju Patel 

From the Margins to the Middle Path : Raju Bhai's other Path 

( Published in Marg by Benoy P. J. )


When Buddhas wheel started turning

It was then that the fourth colour

On India's tricolor emerged as never before

And the sound of shoeless feet

Was heard as music

Like never before.


One of Raju Patel's basic innovations in the set of paintings exhibited here is his strategy of beginning with a tonally altered and slightly muddied set of basic colours. It is, one could say, the sign of the bhoomi sparsa that he has had, as a luminal being who has had occasion to experience life on an other plane. The yellow, the red, the blue or green that he work with are no more the same as those that are available readily on a European colour card. Neither are the people or objects that he depict in any way 'fine'. But to him their everyday lives and tribulations  are worthy of a micro level attention and contemplation and a splendid source of spiritual and material plenitude that comes from a long tradition of joyous and godly existence. From his early days in Baroda, his works have exhibited a micro level consciousness about otherness and its earthly presence. As a person who has a slightly different body structure, and a slightly removed social address, he was able to fabulate these perceived distances from a benignly earthly and unadulterated spiritual position, without undue greediness and a simplicity that came from the heart of darkness. The art seldom was pretensive or high brow in its demeanour, and always exhibited the subtle awareness that it would have to shave of its brow if it did so. This did not come from a lack of training, skill or academic know how, but from a heightened consciousness that the 'genealogy' of the visual was not one that traced its 'lineage' through art works connected to one another, but that found its material from the entire universe of visual repertory of the infinite which it held with a certain wonder and humility. It refused to accept for truth the secondary status that the canons would confer it, because it was connected to the underground flows of a thousand rivers, and the flights and elevations of the hawks eye. It knew the worldly crawl of a snake as well as its many dances, because it had travelled its distances with its belly against the earth.

The 'Naga' and the 'naka' ( Paradise) were never entirely separated for him, because he also was connected by streams of blood to people everywhere. In the early works one would come across a pair of shoes that was made specially for him, with erotically inserted laces and movements that happened beneath the surface, something that was easily visible for another of his kind, but almost invisible for the gaze of pomp. In it there was a litany for the differently- enabled, a noble disregard for the hegemonic  and condescendingly upturned noses of contemporary art. There was also a sense of the non representational, because it refused to fall in with the taboos both on abstraction and representation. The kid as well as the old woman has a presence in it, and it was aware of its many absences, calling them forth elsewhere, wherever and whenever it was necessary.

A little object like a small hand pump for spraying poison on mosquitos or bed bugs was significant enough for it, not because of some quest for a false pretense of microcosmic non aggression which brahminical purism tried to put in place, but due to a cosmic sense of interconnectedness, and brotherhood. No little being was to be entirely eradicated to facilitate for human  medical touchiness, for the world had always had a larger logic and everything in it had its own worth. The skin was dark and brown in the sun, except in those who had succumbed to the pathological logic of dis-ease. The works have a certain ease and the people, a robust life that the inquisitive glasses and anal- eyes of materialist history couldn't meet, and ears in which the wind played its tune, and the turning of Buddhas wheel , the many bodhisatwas, and the womanly presences of earth and nature that embraced his creed. There  was also a hand on the shoulder of the unseen that a dog on leash would fail to smell. The scooterist's  noisy and smokey  ride was very well there, as well as its 'civilizational' jargon, and its amnesias, there for a careful observer to perceive. One could see that the woman was carrying a bag in each hand, similar in its posture to V.V. Vinu's self portrait with plastic bags, or to a Raghunathan's  pompous and sarcastic retort to it. It held both its material and human presence with a certain respect and regard, and saw through the avante -garde gambit of a high brow sarcasm directed at the commons. As an academically trained artist from a tribal background, Raju bhai could easily see through the prescriptive formulas that were attempting to stifle the art of a tribal, and could still establish a certain connection to the painting of Jangar Singh or Anand Singh Shyam, where it painted an aircraft or a car around which birds or semi -beings were left to linger.

The stylistic 'realism' of the painting  was a thin veneer within which the kineticism of other lives was expressing itself, shrouded in a certain mystery. A Ramesh Tekam would probably recognize in it certain continuities and distinctions, though not the ones that a Bourdeiu's  "Distinctions"  would point out. You may not find in it Buribhai's  , Nankhusia Vyam's , Ramsingh Urveti's, jaydev Baghel's  or RajKumar's animals but still could perceive the vast emptinesses that have been left without detail by a cruel and segregating urbanism, which have undertaken to relegate the tribal to a life on the street side and in the slums, or turned them into victims of 'criminal' nomenclatures, devalued and humiliated, as in an 'Uchalya', which Raju bhai in his work undertakes to give details to. Being aware of the 'scales' that human beings were judged by in Brahminism, by taking recourse to an image from the movie 'Freaks', Rajubhai  alludes subtly to the 'ritual status' of dalits in the Purusha sukta (not obviously written by some woman) and Manu's memories  which somehow had legalized the violence of the urban pot holes (obviously housed by certain 'allegators'  which some 'Pomo' Pynchon's have dreaded, but which were visible to 'The man who lived Underground').  It could also carry the memories of a prolific Dasharath, albeit in a certain realism, who maybe carrying a tiffin somewhere in the background. Somewhere in them we can find an opening to the contemporaneity of the middle path, refusing the machismo of futurism, racism  and Nazism and the rotten puritanism of the feudatory classes.

Benoy P. J.  



( love ,  Mahesh G  watercolour on paper )


Mahesh G.  ( Note on the artist by V.  Divakar) 


Mysore has an interesting relation with the artistic traditions in the region. Raja Ravi Varma known for modernizing the visuality of brahmanic gods and goddesses through his engagement with the western  neo classical traditions has a lasting influence even today in the popular imaginations about the imagined hindu nation. Apart from that his attempts to popularize these westernized bhramanical deities through the mass produced oelographs had in a way helped in building up a consensus in the upper caste middle class for a sense of identification with the bhramanical fold elsewhere in the subcontinent. Though attempts have been made to read this mass reproduced imageries as precursors to the inculcation of the idea of nation, I would still attempt to see that this was probably the first modern visual strategy to  religiously force upon the inhabitants of the geography with a thought that had to a certain extend no relevance or identification apart from within the privileged castes. My intention to talk about Raja Ravi Varma's artistic experiments through religion is particularly to talk about some visual stimulations that has informed the works of G. Mahesh. Interestingly though his works takes only the visual and surfacial textures of these oleographs and transfer them into his painterly medium particularly the oil paintings.

Mofussil towns like Mysore and Baroda owning to their importance during the colonial period has a strange mix of modernity and tradition. Still the feudal order survives intact but the outlook is seemingly modern. In the gaps of this transaction between modernity and the feudal remnants you have a bustling subculture where the people also find some carnivalesque spaces of expressing their differences with the dominant culture. These carnivalesque expressions in art, poetry and music has a continuing vibrant tradition and is a cosmos of its own where the creator, creation and the audience actively engage and exchange lot of thoughts and ideas which have immediate relevance in the active and the spiritual world. Still the city market, railway stations, bus stands, colonial structures, hospitals, educational institutes, courts and of course the melas/ carnivals.  Mahesh too shares this tradition and one can say the best of this tradition. If I have to translate roughly what I am telling above, it might be near to what is called "the local' in the post- modern terminologies. But I would refrain to continue using the term for I find it wanting and reductive particularly with regards to certain time and spatial notions about the subculture.  Interestingly these subcultures in these places actively thrive owing to their inseperable relation with the nearby villages. The cosmopolitanism which one see in the surface as a mark of modernity actually is the culture which is built upon by the strong relationship with rural where from the basic exchanges of life takes place. G. Mahesh hails from a village nearby Mysore and has been often travelling between these two different universes. His works too informs these journeys between the two different worlds. For him like many of the folklore spiritual heads from his region spirituality arises from this understanding of everyday in all its variations. If one has to give the example of a person like Shishunala Shariffa a 19th century saint poet in whose poems we could see a peculiarity wherein he could see the spiritual through the industries and the machineries of modernity. One can sense a surrealistic awe and imagery in his poems informed by the then current changes in the social cultural arena. Mahesh too approaches his subjects on these lines and in some ways creates a spiritually poetic rendering of life around him.

The cosmos he portrays has the beggar, bahuroopi, flower seller, madmen, prostitutes, working women, manual scavengers, his family, and his friends all in a landscape which is out there as he experiences and imagines about. All the people, flora and fauna in his works interestingly don't enact according to the role the society has imposed upon them. They subvert these discriminatory roles by becoming part of another cosmos where they become something other than their beings. They partake in a differently abled world where they become the central actors performing and building up the narrative rather than enacting some others script. 

V . Divakar

Bombay 2016 

Knots an experimental art space open for creative alliances where diverse possibilities of engaging with art can be attempted.
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The Space will remain open from 11.00 a.m to 2.00 p.m & 4.00 p.m to 8.00 p.m



John's Freetown 

Saviya Lopes | Solo 

Preview 6 - 10 pm |  9 June 2016 

Art Night Thursday 

10 June - 10 July 2016 | Clark House Bombay 

Art Night Thursday 


Bassein on the West Coast of India shares its name with the city of Bassein on the lower Irrawady delta of Burma.  Parochial concerns and practice of rechristening cities has seen both these ex-Lusitane trading centres regaining vernacular identities as Vasai the suburb of Bombay and Panthein the city now infamous for an unrecognised genocide against its Rakhine Muslim population more popularly known as the Rohingya.  Borders & People are strange bedfellows as the border often denies long histories of human migration often terming and turning cousins into enemies and foreigners , or the Rohingya into Bengali Muslim land-ursurpers in a chauvinistically nationalist Buddhist Burma.  The port of Vasai pre-dated the city of Bombay, to which it is now a sleeper town for a populace that travels 70 kilometres down the passenger rail to clerical jobs on the island. The seven islands of  Bombay is now Mumbai.  In an era of parochial authenticity the East Indians can claim along with the city's fisherfolk in clear terms an undisputed claim to Bombay as their homeland.  Chauvinism is well calibrated on an engine greased by machoism.  Although Saviya Lopes, as Iberian or Moçambiquen she may sound speaks fluent Marathi without having to be coerced or profess a certain religion to confirm her nation.  

The concept of the nation was alien to the South Asian until the Portuguese lead an inquisition as the foreground to their colonial dominions and subsequently failed by alienating their subjects who were confused with the Vatican's intrusion into their lives.  Vasai had been a prosperous trading centre and was home to Buddhist, Jain,  Hindu and Nestorian traders who travelled from the port to as far as Sumeria and Ethiopia.  Encouraged by the patronage a wide range of artists specially musicians settled in Vasai migrating from as far as Kalinga - modern day Orissa on India's eastern coast , who then became the ancestors of the present day Samvedi Brahmins and Samvedi Christians of Vasai.  The Portuguese were driven away by the Maratha legions who returned to a welcoming populace that were tired of Lusitane cultural intrusion.  The Portuguese also gave away Bombay as dowry to the British Monarch when he wed Catherine de Braganza.  The native Christians of Bassein then became British subjects ;  quick to understand the competing colonial interests and subsequent enmity between Britain and Portugal they took on the nomenclature of East Indian Christians borrowing the title from the East India Company -  as Catholics who swore loyalty to the English Crown.

They dropped their Portuguese creole for an English dialect that maintained lusitane grammar. The city was changed but ingrained into their diet this history, as 'batata vada' - a potato patty - using the portuguese word batata held between the 'pao'  or a portuguese  bread bun.  The East Indians were soon recruited into the lower levels of the  English colonial bureaucracy , but a large number of them tended to take on jobs on ships that sailed between Bombay and the Imperial Universe,  from deckhandlers to stewards and fitters they captained ships.  Technical education allowed them to work in factories and acquire blue collar jobs in an India aspiring to be modern.  John Lopes was one such man who found a job as factory supervisor in Freetown, Sierra Leone moving there from Vasai.  He helped build the world's largest commodity trading firm Olam International also run by a peculiar Indian diaspora who originated from the region of Sindh now in Pakistan.  John Lopes eventually lost his life in Sierra Leone in an accident and like many immigrant workers remained anonymous.  Until Saviya Lopes uncovered those letters and photographs he had sent her grandmother in the years of expatriation in Africa. 

Saviya Lopes (1994) is Clark House's youngest member and a recent graduate from Rachna Sansad Academy of Fine Art.  Her research thesis takes form of a confession where she confronts various identities.  A confession of claiming virginity , which is an unfortunate taboo in a patriarchal society ,  vertical portraits of her lips,  a red lipstick impression that reads ' I Don't Bleed Blue'  in red , commenting on sanitary pad advertisements that always represent menstruation in blue, and where she stitches onto fragile Vietnamese rice paper the words : ' A stitch in time saves three' .  These works articulate a hypocrisy that we are well versed with but refuse to shed often using the cudgels of culture.  Small ceramic elephant tusks and terracotta sculptures made in Ayodhya stand aside scratched blocks of sandalwood paste that become her travelogue to her first trip to North India.  She juxtaposes analog printed brain scans of herself to photos of her mother conducting quotidian tasks at home even though she is a banker. From the doorframe hangs an object placed to mimic a charm that wards of evil but in fact is a swiss army knife whose levers she has modified to hold the symbols of various religions.  

Saviya Lopes presents a solo pop-up in Clark House's first room designed as a confession to her being born as a woman in a society that disregards it as a mistake, burden and a bad omen, using a vocabulary that at times comically illustrates itself as a Girls Guide to Saudi Arabia that imitates road signs to communicate clearly restrictions placed on women.  For the Dakar Biennale in 2016 responding to the plot of the biennale she printed a set of her grandfathers photos from his time in Sierra Leone that were presented with a printed version of the Olam website that celebrated its founding family's contribution to West Africa.  An untold story confronts one that is well articulated much like her own as a woman.  

Sumesh Sharma 

Paris 2016 




Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collaborative and a union of artists based in Bombay. 

Poonam Jain and Rupali Patil are the current directors of Clark House. It was established in 2010 as a curatorial collaborative and artist union concerned with ideas of freedom. 

Address: c/o RBT Group, Ground Floor, Clark House, 8 Nathalal Parekh Marg (Old Wodehouse Road), Bombay 400039. Opposite Sahakari Bhandar and Regal Cinema, next to Woodside Inn.