Karachi Elegies

Anu Nanavati Chaddha recommends a exhibition of work by Naiza Khan currently on view at the Eli and Edythe Broad  Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

New York: Naiza Khan is a contemporary artist from Pakistan. Born in 1968, the artist lives and works in Karachi, and has exhibited her work at various galleries and institutions around the world.

Naiza Khan, The Streets Are Rising, 2012-13.

Naiza Khan, The Streets Are Rising, 2012-13. Courtesy the artist and Rossi & Rossi Gallery, London. © Naiza Khan
Image courtesy Eli & Edythe Broad Museum of Art

The exhibition, titled ‘Karachi Elegies’ and curated by Karin Zitzewitz, MSU assistant professor of art history and visual culture, will be the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, where she “…will show oil paintings, sculpture, and video works that map the tragic geography of violence in Karachi and place the human figure within it.  Khan uses the term “disrupted geography” to describe her oil paintings and video works, in which she layers striking images and words to create a dream-like topography.  In her landscape paintings, ruined structures are the lone traces of life.  Her steel sculptures of lingerie armor similarly refer to the human figure without actually representing it, but are evocative of both delicacy and strength.  In artworks of extraordinary beauty, Khan’s work provides a complex and sensitive window onto life in one of the world’s most troubled cities” (Exhibition note, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum website, accessed February 2013).

Naiza Khan, The Robe, 2008.

Naiza Khan, The Robe, 2008. Collection of Karen Stone Talwar. © Naiza Khan
Image courtesy Eli & Edythe Broad Museum of Art

Naiza Khan, Armour Lingerie V, 2007.

Naiza Khan, Armour Lingerie V, 2007. Collection of Dipti and Rakesh Mathur. © Naiza Khan
Image courtesy Eli & Edythe Broad Museum of Art

Saffronart‘s inaugural auction of the Modern & Contemporary Art of Pakistan included a sculptural piece by Khan from the same series as some of the works that are displayed in this exhibition. Speaking about this series of works, the artist notes, “The use of clothing in my work began as a strategy to explore the emotional content of the body through attire. Lingerie, armor, straight jackets, and other imagined pieces create multiple identities or personae. These objects address contemporary anxieties and desires, at a time when ideas about the ‘self’ seem unstable and rapidly shifting… These objects occupy a place between love and war, and are ambiguous in their position of aggression and seduction…I feel they are a part of my ongoing research into the nature of body politics as it is lived and felt in my present cultural context” (Naiza Khan, “Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan”, Asia Society website, accessed October 2012).

Naiza Khan, Untitled

Naiza, Khan, Untitled
Image courtesy Saffronart

The exhibition will remain on view until 26 May 2013.

Learn more about the exhibition

Century of Cinema – A Past with a Future…

Tarika Agarwal discusses the past, present and future of Indian Cinema

Mumbai: 100 years of Indian cinema in India, and today we face the question of what the future holds for us. The ‘Century of Cinema’ exhibition at the Goethe-Institute Mumbai was a celebratory collaboration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of making films in India. It gave us a chance to look back on the wonderful years of Indian cinema through a poster exhibition, series of panel discussions and audio-video and live music presentations.

The exhibition was curated by Mumbai film theorist and writer Narendra Panjwani. There was a range of 40-50 original hand-painted film posters on display, on loan from the venerable studio Kamat Foto Flash. These were categorized by genre, and ranged from some of the first Indian film posters to contemporary printed ones. Apart from classics like Mother India (1957) and Deewar (1975), some of the original posters on display included CID (1956), Teesri Manzil (1966), Bobby (1973) and Aar Paar (1954) under ‘Thillers & Romance’; Pukar (1939) and Bandhan (1969) under ‘Early Years’; Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Andaaz Apna Apna (1994) under ‘Comedy’; and Lagaan (2001) and A Wednesday (2008) under ‘Politics’.

One of the panel discussions centered on the future of Indian cinema. Some of the issues that were discussed at the panel were about the challenges that the future holds in relation to current issues with film making, and opportunities to achieve a positive and freer future for the industry. Another aspect of the discussion regarded the role that the youth will play in the industry in the coming years, and how it is their responsibility to create a bright future and give audiences something to look forward to.

The panel was attended by students, academicians and professionals, and the panelists included Anand Gandhi, an independent film maker, screenwriter and playwright; Nina Gupta, CEO of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and Anjum Rajabali, a film writer and teaching faculty at a university in India.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Otolith Group presents: The Radiant

Elisabetta Marabotto explores one of the MoMA’s night of films in New York

London: Yesterday the MoMA presented the latest movie by the Otolith Group as part of “Documentary Fortnight 2013: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media”.

The Radiant by The Otolith Group, 2012

The Radiant by The Otolith Group, 2012. Image Credit: http://otolithgroup.org/index.php?m=current

The artist collective founded in 2002 by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, in its latest production, reflects upon the terrible happenings which followed the Great Tohoku earthquake in Japan in March 2011.

The Radiant examines different issues around nuclear energy, the past and future threat that radiations can cause and it uses the illuminated cities and villages as an example of what can be changed to avoid these tragedies and must not happened again.

More information on the documentary fortnight and this video work can be found on the MoMA website and the Otolith Group‘s website.

Atul Dodiya at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Josheen Oberoi shares a note on the artist talk given by the renowned artist Atul Dodiya

New York: The Philadelphia Museum of Art recently inaugurated a new series of artist talks with a presentation by the very established and respected contemporary Indian artist Atul Dodiya.  Held on February 13, the talk titled Somersault in Muddy Waters – A Creative Journey took the audience on a trip with the artist, along the many roads his work has traversed. This was an interesting journey to undertake with this artist in particular because of the diversity of his chosen mediums and the complexity of his oeuvre’s visual language. As Darielle Mason (The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) said in introducing Dodiya, “…his works and he so clearly bridge times, cultures and concepts…”.

Atul Dodiya
Sabari with her Birds, 2005
Lithograph and Chiri Bark paper collage on paper
50 x 40 inches
Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2007
Image credit: The Philadelphia Museum of Art

The artist began by speaking of the diverse western and Indian artistic traditions that have consciously been a part of his art. Starting with his first solo show from 1989, his talk went through the stages of his artistic processes and mediums. Self-identifying as essentially a painter, he spoke of the varied mediums he has worked in including his world famous shutters, cabinets, and watercolors. A significant component of his talk focused on the importance of Mahatma Gandhi in his life and his pervasive presence in his work, which had culminated in the artist’s 1999 series on the Mahatma titled An Artist of Non-Violence. We were also fortunately able to see a series of delicate watercolors by the artist that have not been shown in public – these are ornithological studies of birds that he said were done for leisure, for relaxation.

The Museum plans to post the talk online and I will update this post with a link when that is available. In the meantime, if you are in Philadelphia, please visit the museum. The work above, Sabari with her Birds, is part of the museum’s collection and is on exhibit for the next six months.

Snapshots from the Škoda Art Prize 2012 Ceremony

Manjari Sihare shares some snapshots from the Škoda Prize 2012 Ceremony held in New Delhi recently

New Delhi: We recently blogged about the Škoda Art Prize 2012 Show at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. This year, LN Tallur was selected winner of this coveted award. Here are some snapshots from the award ceremony, courtesy of the organizers of the Prize. This ceremony also saw the felicitation of Delhi based artist, Rohini Devasher, with the Art India Breakthrough Artist Award. Read this interview to learn more about Devasher.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: