With the generous support of Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, Mumbai Art Room will hold its annual exhibition comprising a collaboration between curator-artist Nihaal Faizal and artist-curator Chinar Shah.
Every major city in the world probably has a restaurant called 'Taste of India'. Serving Indian food, these restaurants promise to deliver the essence of India through select menu items, wall hangings and softly audible classical music. A consumable brand offering India on its plate, these restaurants extend themselves as souvenirs. As markers of experience, they summarize an imagination of India consolidating it as take away 'naan bread' or tabletop pictures of Taj Mahal.
Drawing from these restaurants, 'The Real Taste of India' is a commentary on homogenized national identity and the commercialization of culture.
Chinar Shah is a Bangalore based artist. She runs a home gallery called Home Sweet Home that uses various domestic spaces as a way to make and show work. She currently teaches at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, where she is a coordinator for photography discipline. Her work 'Silenced Ruptures' (2012) on the Gujarat riots has been part of a travelling memorial exhibition around India. Her recent work 'Aravanis' (2015) was shown at the Tate Liverpool and subsequently at festivals worldwide including the Birmingham Photo Festival and Art Bengaluru. Chinar has also been part of many international artist exchange programs. She is Co-Editor of Photography in India: from Archives to Contemporary Practice (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
Nihaal Faizal is an artist based in Bangalore, India. Working across mediums his practice examines existing technological documents and how they function in the world. He has so far worked with computer desktop backgrounds, popular films, Microsoft PowerPoint, surveillance footage, family photographs, watermarked stock videos and stolen 16mm prints. Apart from his work as an artist, Nihaal has also been involved in the organization of various exhibition projects. These include G.159, a project space he ran between 2013 and 2016 in his student apartment in Yelahanka New Town (Bangalore, India) and an exhibition of the photographic work of his great grandmother, Haleema Hashim (Cochin, India).
'The Real Taste of India' was first conceived as an exhibition by Aileen Blaney, Nihaal Faizal and Chinar Shah titled 'A Bit to Eat' at a Taste of India restaurant in Yelahanka New Town, Bangalore.
The storefront photographs used in this invitation are taken from various online sources, including the official websites of these restaurants.