Enclosed in a vintage wooden frame, artist GR Iranna’s mirror is not made of glass but ash. “You cannot see your reflection. It is a metaphor for the form and the formless, the numerous good and bad memories each of us have but also how one day we turn to ashes,” says Delhi-based Iranna.
Installed at the gallery of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the work, titled Conceived Mirror, is nudging visitors to delve deeper into present realities just as the works of 17 other artists who feature in the exhibition titled “Voiceover”. “The recurring themes of experiences from the everyday are being retold and rerouted as spaces of active engagement with multiple accounts of collective memories,” notes curator Meena Vari. She, along with Nidhi Jain, director of Gallery Ragini, conceived the exhibition almost a year back. “We thought it was important to contemplate and respond to what all is happening around us,” says Jain.
Following the curatorial note, the artists in the exhibition respond to contemporary issues. If Delhi-based Veer Munshi returns to the unrest in his homeland, Kashmir, with a papier-mache deer in an urbanscape in the work Whispers of Silence Hearing the Truth in Our Quiet Moments, Parvathi Nayar’s hand-drawn graphite on wood panels, titled Earth Images, are intricate and contemplative. In Pooja Iranna’s cylindrical installation Endless Escalation, the delicate ecological balance is at the mercy of rapid urban and industrial development. Mumbai-based artist Dhruvi Acharya depicts the human mind and investigates how one is constantly battling varied thoughts and voices, and MS University alumnus Nataraj Sharma notes how Love and Work are imperative for survival.
There is also commentary on the current sociopolitical ethos. Known for her textile embroideries, artist Rakhi Peswani puts out 10 “C” words in Sketching the Contemporary — from “craft” to “concern”, “censor” to “capital”. Also in red, artist Vivek Vilasini’s Between One Shore and Several Others (Election Symbols) brings together the election symbols of over 10 political parties in India. “These symbols are supposed to represent the ideas of political parties and aspirations of the people but when you look at them, they don’t seem to match with the propaganda or the progressive ideas that the parties stand for. To reach that middle ground is a subject of contemplation,” says Vilasini.
Reflecting how the show has come together, Jain turns to Vari’s curatorial note, where she states: “Articulated within a specific mode of encoding, these works presented in the exhibition, foreground reflection of our current times, programmed with symbolic interpretations, negotiations of the quotidian, and strategies of creating satires of the everyday evidences. These encoded fragments engage and negotiates — knowledge creation, subjective cartographies, interventions with power, proximity to nature and the intuitive reflections of the now and the future.”
The exhibition is on till January 17