With Curator Shaunak Mahbubani and Tejshree Savare, Arjun Guleria of the Art Appreciation Society
Delhi is known for hosting many art and culture events. The Delhi Contemporary Art Week held at the Visual Arts Gallery of the India Habitat Center, is one that particularly stands out. Yesterday, I attended an informative and thoroughly enjoyable walk-through of the art exhibits here, led by Curator, Writer and Arts Organiser Shaunak Mahbubani. The walk through was organised by the Art Appreciation Society started by Tejshree Savara and Arjun Guleria, which aims at making art accessible to interested people, who have no prior understanding or experience of art.
A fun fact I learned before the walk-through began, was that all galleries exhibiting at the Delhi Contemporary Art Week are owned and run by women. Then, I was even more intrigued and impressed when Shaunak focussed on the work of women rather than men. Is this indicative of a visible glass ceiling being shattered in the sphere of formal art?
While I thoroughly enjoy both classic as well as contemporary art, I have no proper education in the field. I feel that my appreciation of art is heightened through conversation/ discussion about art work. A few months ago, at the India Art Fair, I chronicled 11 must-see works which I saw on a walk-through led by Curator Ina Puri. Today, I will highlight 7 works made by women, that really stand out at the Delhi Contemporary Art Week 2019. Read on to know the must-see works at the Art Week (all details below).
- RADHIKA AGARWALA:
EVERY BIT OF EARTH IS A BIT OF YOU at GALLERY LATITUDE 28
Radhika Agarwala’s driftwood piece sculpted in bronze is striking for its decaying beauty. The sculpture signifies the fragility of nature, yet the sturdy casting material used on it, suggests that nature is stronger than humans and will strike back for the atrocities we put it through.
TIGER WORKS at NATURE MORTE GALLERY
Zimbiri is a young Bhutanese artist- the first female artist to have a solo show in the country and for good reason. The paintings shown here, use tigers to make a poignant statement about the expectations that society thrusts upon us.
In a set of three paintings, the square shape of the canvas indicates a limitation of space. The tigers are squeezed into boxes, to which they have varied reactions of anger, resentment and acceptance.
- SHILPA GUPTA:
EYE TEST at VADEHRA GALLERY
Shilpa Gupta uses different media in her art works, to send out strong messages. Her work had been one of my favourites at the Art Fair earlier this year, and the text based light box showcased here is also noteworthy. It is clear that her forte lies in making subtle political statements through the use of playful text or visual media.
- KHUSHBU PATEL:
BUSHY GROWTHS at SHRINE EMPIRE GALLERY
This set of miniature paintings of obscure bush like growths, stand out despite their diminutive size. Khushbu Patel’s signature works highlight the deformities in nature, including facial acne, the patterns on floors, the innards of human bodies seen during surgery etc. There is something fascinating about her work- it makes you question why you feel disgusted by things that are merely a part of nature.
- NEERJA KOTHARI:
MURMURATION at SHRINE EMPIRE GALLERY
You may pass by these unobtrusive drawings of dots without a second glance, but the series is truly fascinating once you know its story. Neerja Kothari suffered from a muscular disease for which she underwent excessive physiotherapy. She had to perform many exercises repeatedly to regain basic movement, with each of these exercises being quantified by numbers.
Fascinated by the concept of quantifying things that are not quantifiable, she now makes dots of various movements and counts them all. In the series on display at the Art Week, she has shown the flight of starling birds.
- CHITRA GANESH:
Fans of pop culture will particularly enjoy this exhibit. Having grown up in New York, Chitra Ganesh attempts to reconcile her Indian roots with the culture of her surroundings. Her work is rife with this opposition.
Influenced by both Amar Chitra Katha as well as DC and Marvel comics, she paints a fierce brown girl as the protagonist. On closer inspection, you notice the stark political, environmental and cultural statements made by her.
- ARSHI AHMEDZAI:
UNKNOWN PRINTS at BLUEPRINT GALLERY
Arshi Ahmedzai is an Indian artist married to an Afghani who has been living in Kabul since a few years. The rawness of her work forces you to think about the confusion of identity. She uses (what would be construed as) simple techniques, often making imprints of an image and displaying the two side-by-side, to show the subtle differences she has personally undergone after moving to Kabul.
These are the pieces that Shaunak Mahbubani highlighted for us at the Delhi Contemporary Art Week, but there are many others that are equally striking, such as Ganesh Selvaraj’s “Circulation of Life and Universe” showcased at the Exhibit 320 Gallery. I urge you to visit the Art Week 2019 and experience these phenomenal works of art for yourself.
I will sign off with Shaunak’s words, “A work of art may not change your life, but it has the potential to influence a shift in your thinking” (paraphrased). I will definitely return to explore the Art Week more, before it is over. Would you like to join me?
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE DELHI CONTEMPORARY ART WEEK 2019:
Days: On till Sunday, September 8, 2019
Time: Open till 8:30 p.m.
Venue: The Visual Arts Gallery, Gate no. 2, India Habitat Center, New Delhi
Entry Fee: Free
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