South Asian Contemporary Art at New Zealand’s Govett-Brewster Gallery

Manjari Sihare shares details of a new exhibition of South Asian art at New Zealand’s leading contemporary art museum

New Zealand: The contemporary art museum of New Plymouth in Taranaki, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is currently hosting the region’s most extensive exhibition of South Asian contemporary art. Sub-Topical Heat: New Art from South Asia features the works of nine artists from the subcontinent, namely Naeem Mohaiemen, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Bani Abidi, Sheba Chhachhi, Raking Leaves, Gigi Scaria, Imran Qureshi, and Sharmila Samant.

Read more about this exhibition.

Govett-Brewster is recognized internationally in the world of contemporary art. In 2009, the Arts Foundation of New Zealand bestowed the Gallery with their prestigious Governors’ Award to acknowledge the institution’s singular commitment to the cause of contemporary art over four decades. Incidentally, this exhibition is not the gallery’s first showcase of art from the Indian subcontinent. In 2009, the Gallery hosted Nalani Malani’s compelling installation, Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain.

Nalini Malani, Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain, 2005 (installation view)
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These exhibitions have been curated by the current Director of the Gallery, Rhana Davenport, a cultural specialist with substantial experience in the field of contemporary art in Asia, the Pacific and Australasia. Davenport is known for her significant experience with international cultural festivals and contemporary art biennial/triennial projects including the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, and the Sydney Festival.

The current exhibition opened earlier this month, and will be on view until 4 November, 2012. Sheba Chhachhi, Gigi Scaria, N.S. Harsha and Sharmila Samant traveled to New Plymouth for the opening of the exhibit. The gallery organized a series of short dialogues between each of these artists and Davenport, which are available for free viewing on Youtube (see links below).

Interview with NS Harsha

Interview with Gigi Scaria

Interview with Sheba Chhachhi

Interview with Sharmila Samant 

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