The walls of Photoink gallery are adorned with black and white photographs of Mumbai-based performance artist Nikhil Chopra,where he can be seen posing as the character Sir Raja III his alter ego in the woods. Dressed as a robed prince amid the landscape of Kashmir,the photograph titled What will I do with all this land? (2005) tells the tale of a stereotypical Indian prince journeying on a horseback through his estate,which resembles 19th century British photography of Indian dignitaries. This photograph does not refer to any prominent person or a historical event. Instead,it is a recollection of Chopras childhood memories of summer vacations that were spent at his grandparents cottage near Lidder river in the Valley.
Many such photographs,which seem to be deeply influenced from Chopras Kashmiri identity,bring to life the remnants of Indias colonial past at the exhibition at Photoink gallery. Comprising 26 works by seven artists,this features highlights of Mumbai-based Chatterjee & Lal gallerys exhibitions in the last decade. The show is part of a gallery exchange programme,that has Photoink showing works of Dhruv Malhotra in Mumbai.
Among others,one is drawn to Delhi-based artist Nityan Unnikrishnans canvas titled The Long Weekend. A young girl hugs a large,friendly and monstrous cat,but on closer introspection the quirky painting with strange characters reveal bits and pieces of life. Scribbled inside the monsters silhouette are activities being performed by the same character. He can be seen merrily cleaning the floor or removing dust off a painting. If you look at the painting,it gives the feeling of a quiet life,which is not too violent,too happy or sad, he says.
Another Delhi-based artist,Aditya Pande has brought back the memories of pre-cable television days through his single channel video Sare Jahan Se Sacha,with Pandit Ravi Shankars signature tune for Doordarshan in the backdrop. An old television set shows the image of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon,juxtaposed with that of Mahatma Gandhi embarking upon the Salt Satyagraha. He says,Both were epochal moments in modern history,with different political ideologies. As a disseminator of ideology,state broadcast played a huge role.
The exhibition is on at Photoink gallery,Hyundai MGF Building,Ground Floor,1 Jhandewalan,till April 6. Contact: 28755940