THE NEW SUNDAY EXPRESS VOICES ANIRBAN GANGULY AMAR BHUSHAN RAVI SHANKAR KG SURESH SHINIE ANTONY MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI BUFFET PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT MAY 12 2019 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Gandhi in Venice Indian art marches ahead for the second time at the Venice Biennale with ideologies of the Mahatma By KAUSHANI BANERJEE D NANDALAL BOSE (1882-1966) elhi-based artist Ashim Purakayastha has built a hut-shaped installation using 350 stones albeit cement. The “jhuggi”, as he calls it, is a work-in-progress and represents the lament of the underprivileged sections of society who lack a permanent shelter, thus leading to encroachment in cities. The metaphor doesn’t end there for the stones of the hut are often used as savage weapons. The installation’s underlying themes are violence, discrimination and poverty in our society They are also the . crux of the fight Mahatma Gandhi led during his lifetime. “I am not a Gandhi bhakt and this work only means to juxtapose non-violence and violence. I was born in Assam where violence and identity crisis is an ongoing problem. Their effect on my conscious mind has channelled my internal protest into my work,” says the artist. Gandhi has arrived in Venice, the city of lovers. For six months, it will be the city of art lovers. La Biennale di Venezia, better known as the Venice Biennale, with its 124-year legacy is the Olympics of the art world. It’s not just a big career opportunity for international artists, but also changes the way the world sees their countries. The 58th edition of the event, which opened on May 11 in the Italian city , continues till November 24 with more than 90 countries bootstrapping to secure their position at this global art pageant. The theme for this year is ‘May You Live In Interesting Times’ and India is returning only for the second time after a eight-year hiatus. Unlike other art fairs, a biennale has no direct commercial proposition for visitors. It simply allows artists and curators to present contemporary art and render public discourse on socio-political issues. Thus it is apt that Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary has been selected as the theme at the India Pavillion put together by The Union Ministry of Culture, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and is curated by Roobina Karode. “This participation is special as it is a commemoration of 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi who is revered in India as the Father of the Nation. Haripura Panels created by artist Nandalal Bose at the behest of Mahatma Gandhi One of the pioneers of the ‘nationalist-modern’ Indian art, Bose adorned the original manuscript of the Constitution of India. He made linocuts commemorating Gandhi’s Dandi March in 1930, and designed Haripura Congress posters on Gandhi’s invitation which will be shown at the Biennale. Turn to page 2 ATUL DODIYA Born in Mumbai in 1959, Dodiya’s oeuvre features the Mahatma as a subject explorng the aesthetics of Gandhi as a popular leader. At the Biennale, he will display ‘Broken Branches’ that was created in 2002 representing the aftermath of the 9/11. JITISH KALLAT Kallat’s works span painting, photography, drawing, video and sculptural installations. The 45-year-old’s mid-career retrospective ‘Here After Here’ was curated by Catherine David and organised at the NGMA, New Delhi in 2017. He served as the curator and artistic director of the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014. His works have been part of the Havana Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Asian Art Biennale, Curitiba Biennale, Guangzhou Triennale and the Kiev Biennale and are included in collections at the NGMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Singapore Art Museum. At the Venice Biennale, Kallat has turned a historical letter into a piece of contemporary art titled ‘Covering Letter’. 'Covering Letter' by Jitish Kallat that will be on display at this year's Venice Biennale there is no denying that the Mahatma has evoked global interest for nearly a century The . pavilion aims to revisit his many facets that continue to inspire, provoke and challenge viewers, intellectuals and artists. On taking India to this global platform, Arun Goel, Secretary , Ministry of Culture, Government of India, says, “The 58th Venice Biennale will help put Indian artists and art on the world map. Gandhiji is an intrinsic part of our nation’s history and the curated presentation ‘Our Time for Future Caring’ is a call for understanding Gandhiji’s ideas as a solution to modern day complexities. The exhibition weaves together contemporary artworks of eminent artists and portrays physical acts like the charkha, fasting, protest and self-restraint which are relayed as allegory , reflections and narratives.” MISSING IN ACTION The last time India actively participated at the Venice Biennale was in 2011, when works of alternative artists such as Zarina Hashmi, Praneet Soi, Gigi Scaria and The Desire Machine Collective (Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya) were displayed. The debut show organised by Lalit Kala Akademi and curated by Ranjit Hoskote was titled ‘Everyone Agrees: Its About to Explode’. But the following year Indian art went incognito. On the 2011 theme Hoskote says, “It is evident that a nation is the product of the political and cultural imagination of its people. It’s an administrative, juridical and shall be on display at the India Pavilion. His works are among the national treasures from the collection of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi,” says Adwaita Charan Gadanayak, Director General NGMA. Gandhi’s message is undoubtedly India’s medium at Venice. Shakuntala Kulkarni uses cane highlights in her mixed media installation titled ‘Body of Armour’ to highlight Gandhi’s partiality to indigenous materials. Jitish Kallat brings Gandhi’s ideas on friendship and non-violence to the world through ‘Covering Letters’. These are a few of the Gandhi themes exhibits this year at the Biennale. While critics have called the theme “a trump card”,
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