ASIA ART ARCHIVE’S ANNUAL FUNDRAISER AUCTION FEATURES ARTISTS FROM THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

Kanika Pruthi of Saffronart shares details about AAA’s upcoming Annual Fundraiser Auction in Hong Kong

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New York: The Asian Art Archive is a Hong Kong based initiative which  provides a platform for the research, writing and understanding of the history of contemporary art in Asia. It aims to re-imagine the role of an archive and to address the expanding space of the global narrative in art history. They are committed to creating a collection of resources for the public which is accessible to the masses, facilitating research on existing material and also encouraging new ideas and creative endeavours through their programs.

AAA’s Annual Fundraiser Auction serves as a major source of support for its programs, activities and aims to raise funds to extend its global reach, expanding the educational potential of the archive and redefining the way worldwide audiences learn about contemporary art.

This year the auction features 74 works of art, generously donated by galleries and artists from around the world. The works can be viewed from 21-25 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Online bidding is open from 8-29 November and the live auction will take place on 30 November, 2013.

Among the many international artists featured this year, works from established and emerging artists from the Indian sub continent are included in the auction. These include Gulammohammed Sheikh, Atul Dodiya, Nalini Malani, Rajorshi Ghosh, Tanya Goel, Aditi Singh, Aisha Khalid and Huma Mulji.

Selected works can be viewed in the slideshow accompanying this post and the full auction catalogue is available online.

Art evoking the spirit of hospitality at Mumbai International Airport Terminal

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart comments on Rajeev Sethi’s new project

New York: Rajeev Sethi, a prominent Indian scenographer, fills up the void of public art by initiating a phenomenal art project that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but at the same time acts as a gateway to India and its magnificently diverse and unique cultural heritage.

The installation, commencing September 2013, will convert over 4,39,000 square meters of space at terminal 2 of the Mumbai Internal Airport into a large installation of art works of different mediums ornamenting it. Mumbai, being one of India’s largest metropolitan cities, attracting vast numbers of international visitors, could not have been more apt a location to house a project of such scale and motive.

Sethi says “The art programmer seek to convert the airport into a spectacular doorway into India, integrated into the fabric of the city it is located in and initiating the visitor into the experience that lie beyond its doors”

Passengers flying into the new international airport terminal will be gracefully welcomed with Sethi’s magnificent project, aiming to introduce swarming passengers at the busy terminal with Indian art and a gateway to the culture, arts and crafts of India.

Art should not be the privilege of just the rich or museums, it should be displayed in large public places” says Sethi.

The entire project is a creative collaboration between contemporary artists and artisans of the state whose arts are being represented. It is an intriguing juxtaposition between age-old tradition and continuity. It lays emphasis on India being a country of dynamism and complexity, as it exists in several centuries simultaneously. The project defines what India is and how it is through layered narratives, simplistically representing India. It will take viewers on to a unique experience, one that’s unexplored.

The artists involved in the project are a mixture of local artisans and established artists such as Gulmmohammed Sheikh, Amitavada Das, Jagannath Panda and Riyas Komu amongst several others.

A few highlights of the project will include: recently unveiled segment of the project called “Udan Khatola’, ‘Touché’ and ‘Reappearances – Below the Tarmac’ in the capital, New Delhi, before it was transported to Mumbai. This too along with several other works of art, was created mostly by artisans from different states of India in the North, South, East and West. Overall, the project is funded by GVK and is the collaboration and coordination of over 1000 artists all over the country.

“There is no dearth of vision in this country. What’s more important is how you implement an idea. And in a country like ours where we have a luxury of committed skilful people, we can realize some of the most difficult visions. Machines would stay but I believe hands would always stay one step ahead,” says the scenographer,

Udan Khatola, is a piece of work where a couple of artists have collaborated on. It is a 6.5ft papier-mâché sculpture conceptualized by Sethi, made by Sabtir Kanjania and painted by artist Madhvi Parekh. The piece is enamored by various techniques used by scenic painters of Chandan Nagar during local rituals as well as ornamented with different kinds of horses as interpreted by different traditions across the Indian subcontinent.

“It is an amalgamation of Indian mythology and machines. Its structure and colours—blue, black and silver—give it a bright and royal look, making it look like a royal carrier and yet a fantastical flying plane,” says Parekh
The project is centered on six themes. The common umbrella theme is of ‘seamless India’ and constitutes the western gateway of Molela as described by Sethi. He adds “The northern gateway displays art from Kashmir; the eastern from Kolkata, and the southern gateway represents a very whimsical gopuram with gods and goddesses flying off”

The art displayed representing Northern India will cover at least 1.5 km of the terminal space. Srinagar hosted an event for the preview of murals before it was due to travel to Mumbai.

“The force of art and craft can create bonds of unity and cooperation between artisans of different areas and cultures. These arts and crafts act as brand ambassadors of civilization, heritage, culture and detail about the people, their living and status,” said chief minister Omar Abdullah, at the preview in Srinagar.  The large 32 by 16 foot mural represents Srinagar incorporating various places of worships from Mosques to Gurudwaras. A local artist, Fayaz Ahmed Jan, one of fourteen, working on it claimed to have spent over a year working on the mural.

For a personal touch, each of the commissioned artists was given a mobile phone encouraging them to document the works being made. These would be placed near the respective works, complimenting the work of art, creating a dialogue between the viewer and the artist. Almost like a sneak preview in to the artists mind.

The project overall unfolds hidden treasures and stories, layer after layer, winding and unwinding fragments of the subcontinent’s rich histories and culture, continuing forward enabling the viewer, both international and local, to admire the riches that the subcontinent has to offer. Therefore, Sethi with this unique initiative uses art and artistic representations of Indian culture and tradition, to build a sustainable platform for Indian art, especially folk Indian art on the international market for art.

Below you can enjoy a video on the project and more information can be found here.

‘Let The World In’ A New Two-Part on Indian Contemporary Art

Emily Jane Cushing recommends a two-part film on contemporary Indian art entitled ‘Let the World in’. 

Detail from the film’s poster with paintings by Sudhir Patwardhan (left) and Gigi Scaria (right) Image credit: http://in.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/910426/coming-soon-a-2-volume-film-on-contemporary-indian-art

Detail from the film’s poster with paintings by Sudhir Patwardhan (left) and Gigi Scaria (right) Image credit: http://in.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/910426/coming-soon-a-2-volume-film-on-contemporary-indian-art

London: A new two-part film, titled ‘Let the World in’, directed by Avijit Mukul and produced by Art Chennai, intends to document the evolution of contemporary visual art in India spanning three generations of artists and their work dating from the 1980s to the present day.

The premiere of the film was held at the National Film Archive of India in Pune on the 7th of June; and it is now travelling to film festivals in the UK from the 13th-14th and returning to India for its debut in Mumbai and Delhi.

Untitled, Arpita Singh, 2002

Untitled, Arpita Singh, 2002. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/auctions/PreWork.aspx?l=8483

The film intends to document the depth and diversity in contemporary Indian art by outlining “the artists’ concerns reflected in their work, tracing it down to the present day,” according to the press release. The first volume begins discussing the monumental 1981 exhibition “Place For People” in Delhi and Bombay, in which a group of artists conveyed through their work and engagement with locality, class and politics and further touching on how younger artists have been impacted by the inherited legacy of this movement. Central characters in the first volume include artists Arpita Singh, Gulammohammed Sheikh and Vivan Sundaram; inputs are also heard from influential art critic Geeta Kapur and the late Bhupen Khakhar, a co-artist and close friend.

A Theory of Abstraction, T.V. Santhosh, 2001

A Theory of Abstraction, T.V. Santhosh, 2001. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/auctions/PostWork.aspx?l=8286

The second part of the film focuses on practitioners such as Shilpa Gupta, Atul Dodiya and T.V. Santosh; major political and social changes in India make up the backdrop of the beginning of this volume. Issues such as the liberalization of the Indian economy and the funding of dangerous religious extremist that ensued and also the lack of sophisticated educational practices in Indian artistic establishments are all topics that contribute to the setting of the second volume.

The film also conveys the new Indian artistic generations preoccupation with the past and engagement with history; one of the films main goals is to re-ignite to public consciousness the significant role played by the senior generation of Indian artists who were dedicated to forming their unique artistic styles in previous times.

If you are in Cambridge on 20 June, then you can view the film at 17:30 pm at the Center for South Asian Studies; more information here.

For details of the multi-city screening schedule, visit the film’s Facebook page. The DVD will be released shortly.

Asia Art Archive to host a day-long conference on Art Writing in India

Manjari Sihare shares details of a forthcoming seminar on Art Writing in India

New York: Those in Kochi or that part of the world, please check out a forthcoming conference on Art writing in India organized by the Asia Art Archive and co-hosted by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Fields of Legibility: disciplines and practices of art writing in India, is a day-long seminar which will be held on February 6, 2013 in Kochi. Asia Art Archive (AAA) is a Hong Kong based not-for-profit organization committed to documenting the recent history of contemporary art in Asia within an international context. Established in 2000, AAA is the most comprehensive publicly accessible collection of research materials in the field and it continues to grow through a well planned program of research and information gathering. Having set up its first Indian research post in 2007, AAA has over the years undertaken a number of research initiatives in the country, ranging from awarding a research grant to Vidya Shivadas in 2009 to critically survey the field of art criticism in India to a digitization project of the personal archive of Geeta Kapur and Vivan Sundaram in 2010.

Currently, the Archive is working on the digitization of the personal archives of four important pedagogues in Baroda, namely, professors K G Subramanyan, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Ratan Parimoo, and Jyoti Bhatt. It is also compiling an extensive bibliography of art writing in India since the late 19th century, across English and regional languages. This daylong seminar is the first in a sequence of such programs that will inform AAA’s research towards a series of anthology publications dedicated to the history of writing on 20th century visual art in India.

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE

10am – 1:30pm

Welcome address and conference introduction

Keynote lecture by Prof. Susie Tharu (Professor of Eminence, Department of Cultural Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad)

Panel 1: Writing on the Nation | Writing in the Vernacular
Chair: Prof. Parul Dave Mukherjee (Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Speakers:
Saloni Mathur (Associate Professor, Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles)
Prof. Gulammohammed Sheikh (Artist and art historian, Baroda)

2:30 – 5pm

Panel 2: Sites of Discourse | Discursive Positions
Chair: Sadanand Menon (Art critic, Chennai)
Speakers:
Geeta Kapur (Independent critic and curator, New Delhi)
Raqs Media Collective (Artist collective and curators, New Delhi)

Summation by Prof. Parul Dave Mukherjee
Floor open for discussion

To learn more about the Asia Art Archive, click here. 

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale begins today!

Manjari Sihare shares details of the much awaited Kochi- Muziris Biennale

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 An interactive map of India's First Biennale celebrating contemporary artists from around the world.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 An interactive map of India’s First Biennale celebrating contemporary artists from around the world.

New York: The date 12.12.12 is going to go down in India’s books for more than one reason.  The country’s largest contemporary art event, and its first biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is being inaugurated today across different venues in the Fort Kochi area of Cochin in Kerala, South India. While India has a strong history of hosting triennales, the very first of which was organized in 1968 by the legendary Mulk Raj Anand, the Kochi- Muziris Biennale will be the first biennale in the country.

Typical of the phenomenon of an international art biennale, this one is also centered on the city, in this case, invoking the underlying multi-ethnic spirit of the modern metropolis of Kochi and its mythical past, Muziris, the recently excavated ancient city that was buried under layers of mud and mythology after a massive flood in the 14th century. The biennale is the brain child of eminent contemporary Indian artists, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu. The first edition will feature approximately 90 Indian and international artists, introducing contemporary international visual art practice to India in manner not done before. Special highlights include newly commissioned works by artists such as Ariel Hassan (Argentina), Amanullah Mojadidi (Afghanistan), Anita Dube (India), Sudarshan Shetty (India), Subodh Gupta (India), Hossein Valamanesh (Iran/Australia), Tallur LN (India), Vivan Sundaram (India), Sheela Gowda (India), Joseph Semah (Netherlands), Nalini Malani (India), Atul Dodiya (India), UBIK (Dubai), Rigo 23 (Portugal), Jonas Staal (Netherlands), Dylan Martorell (Scotland/Australia), Ernesto Neto (Brazil). British singing sensation of Tamil descent, Mathangi Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) has been roped in to perform at the inauguration. Known for her avant-garde music, M.I.A. has previously shared stage space with the likes of Madonna and Rihanna, as well as  been a part of the A.R. Rahman’s team for the music of Slumdog Millionaire.

The event is a multi-faceted one including a two-day symposium, ‘Site Imaginaries’, on 15 & 16 December, 2012.  From the situated ground point of Kochi, the symposium aims to explore and retrieve memories in the current global context to posit alternatives to political and cultural discourses, and build a platform for dialogue for a new aesthetics and politics rooted in the Indian experience. The panelists include Aman Mojadidi, Amar Kanwar, Ariel Hassan, Ashok Sukumaran , Atul Dodiya, Clifford Charles, Shahidul Alam, Gayatri Sinha, Geeta Kapur, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Jonas Staal, Joseph Semah, Marieke van Hal, Nalini Malani, Nancy Adajania, Paul Domela, Pooja Sood, Ranjit Hoskote, Riyas Komu, Robert Montgomery, Sarat Maharaj, Tasneem Mehta, Vivan Sundaram, Vivek Vilasini.

The biennale will be held across different venues including the Aspinwall House loaned to Kochi-Muziris Biennale by DLF Limited in association with the Gujral Foundation, a restored Dutch bungalow called David Hall, spice warehouses and heritage structures being opened to the public for the first time ever. Characteristic of leading biennales across the world, this one too is expected to give a boost to the State’s economy.

Read more.

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