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DISSENSUS : AN INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF ART BY EIGHT ARTISTS FROM SEVEN COUNTRIES

October 24, 2017 09:50 AM

Dissensus brings together works by eight artists who have been witness to the political and identity crises in regions of ongoing conflict — Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Kashmir in India, and Pakistan. Even when the issues that are of immediate concern to them range from gender, territorial dispute, anxieties regarding cultural annihilation and ethnic marginalization, these artists withdraw into immediate, everyday contexts, and markers of cultural identity to construct quiet acts of dissent away from the central political stage.

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi in collaboration with gallery Latitude 28 brings to Chandigarh a thoughtfully curated exhibition of contemporary art opening at 5.30 pm on 26th Oct 2017.

 
 
Mr. Diwan Manna, President,  Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi, said Dissensus brings together works by eight artists who have been witness to the political and identity crises in regions of ongoing conflict — Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Kashmir in India, and Pakistan. Even when the issues that are of immediate concern to them range from gender, territorial dispute, anxieties regarding cultural annihilation and ethnic marginalization, these artists withdraw into immediate, everyday contexts, and markers of cultural identity to construct quiet acts of dissent away from the central political stage.

These intimate testimonies and observations employ the aesthetic to develop a micro-poetics of the stakes borne by civilians whose concerns are overlooked in media-narratives driven by political figureheads, capital and diplomatic ties. It is not coincidental that several artists find a language in the subtlety of the miniature tradition to voice their politics. Scale and detail evoke the marginal locations of their themes, and the multitude that is united in these narratives.       

Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi is proud to invite Latitude28 to bring its exhibition ‘Dissensus’ to Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi at Punjab Kala Bhavan in Chandigarh, continuing its commitment to emerging artists, contextualizing their work alongside eminent artists and also debuting acclaimed international artists in India. This year we are introducing Priyanka D’Souza, a young MSU Baroda trained artist, who responds to deeply political and social contemporary issues through work that is inspired by Mughal miniatures. Her work will be on display alongside Veer Munshi’s collaboration with Kashmiri craftsmen — another instance of maintaining continuity between tradition and contemporary liberal, humanist ideas. Also presented are works by Australia-based artist Khadim Ali, who was recently featured in Art Asia Pacific’s list of top 40 artists under 40 in the Asia Pacific region and acclaimed artist Waseem Ahmed.

Dissensus brings together works by eight artists who have been witness to the political and identity crises in regions of ongoing conflict — Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Kashmir in India, and Pakistan. Even when the issues that are of immediate concern to them range from gender, territorial dispute, anxieties regarding cultural annihilation and ethnic marginalization, these artists withdraw into immediate, everyday contexts, and markers of cultural identity to construct quiet acts of dissent away from the central political stage.

‘Dissensus’ also marks the first India exhibition for the Iranian artist Neda Tavalaee, who addresses her feminist concerns through the language of Persian miniatures, for the Taiwan-born, New York-based artist Fay Ku who collages an eclectic account of personal identity through multilayered tableaus that derive their aesthetic from Chinese gongbi and xieyi as well as Persian and Indian miniature paintings, and for the Bangladeshi activist artist GaziNafis Ahmed who has devoted his lens-based practice to documenting precarious communities in Bangladesh. Latitude 28’s vision is shaped by its Founder/Director, BhavnaKakar, who has over a decade’s experience as a curator, editor, and art consultant.  

 WHAT ARTISTS SAYS 

Fay Ku

“As an immigrant, woman, and person of color, it is impossible not to become a sort of representative of otherness; and indeed, my work does directly address the realities of existing as a political and politicized being in the contemporary world.  At the same time, my inspiration often comes from historical work, from both Eastern and Western histories that are equally my heritage (Chinese by heritage, Taiwanese by birth, American by education), and their attempt to encompass a more primal and universal sense of being human.  I too try to encompass this cosmological awe.

As a young child, I fused the imageless histories told by my parents to the Western images I saw around me but for me had no context.  In my most recent work, I recreate quasi-religious tableaux to resemble classical Western paintings in form but, upon closer inspection, depict unfamiliar content.  I look to art historical tropes as well as found images from contemporary popular media, and through drawing and painting onto translucent drafting film layers, these disparate elements accumulate and through layering, slowly arrive.” 

GaziNafis Ahmed

“These magical black &whites photographs are from the series Puran Dhaka. I am intimately attached to Puran Dhaka and this is explored through the stories I have heard and wanderings down the memory lanewhen I was a child. Traversing around this part of the city, I let the ‘energy’ of the space take over and follows where it leads.” 

Hit Man Gurung

“The Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal raised $4.1 billion in relief and rebuilding funds. It has been more than a year since the earthquake and still thousands of families are living in poor conditions and temporary shelters. The process of reconstruction and resettlement by the government has been slow and leisurely. Additionally, the climatic condition has worsened the situation. Hundreds of people have died in the cold, floods and landslides as they lack a safe place to stay. We are in war without enemies...Iis from the series ‘This is My Home, My Land and My Country...’, dedicated to the earthquake survivors who lost their home and beloved ones in 2015.” 

Khadim Ali

“The pluralistic aspect of Shahnamehholds a psychological appeal for me, and it may for other Hazaras. Since Ferdowsi was a defeated poet from a dying era, Shahnameh, one could argue, is more of a story of failure, than a saga of heroic enterprise. Almost all of the characters in Shahnamehhave a defeating fate, including the hero Rustam. Hence, if we consider Shahnamehto be tales of killings in a future past, it becomes aligned with the contemporary geopolitics. The Islamic world today, just as the Persian world, is drowning in the Killing(s) of future. A brutal past is destroying the heart of the present.” 

Neda Tavalaee

“As a female Persian artist based in Iran, my work focuses on the situation we face as women and as a people. There has always been a sense of mystery about Women in the Middle East perhaps because of the culture that has always required us to hide our bodies, emotions and thoughts or the taboos forced upon us through time. Behind this body of work is the lack of heroes in our society. Coming from an ancient culture abundant with stories of such men, it is ironic that in this day and age we have none of the kind. The work was inspired by some arrests that took place a while back in Iran that were to my knowledge unjust. I decided to use pages of the Shahnameh, a book abundant with tales of heroism and patriots as the background in contrast with the image of the damsel in distress, symbolic of Hawa (Eve in Islam) who has to solve all her problems by herself and seek for justice alone.” 

Priyanka D’Souza

“This body of work was my response toManashFiraqBhattacharjee’s poem,No Urdu In Dilli, Mian which uses rather delicately, the imagery of the wall to encapsulate a very political statement, its language in keeping with the lyricism of Persian and Urdu poetry. I’ve tried to understand ‘the writing on the wall’ (a phrase taken from the Judaic narrative of Daniel common to Islam) as scripture, drawing from the rich bibliophilic tradition in Islam. Script, therefore, as a signifier of a community and its engagement with the political was of interest to me. Visually, the nuances of the Nastaliq script and quiet sensibilities of surface textures and qualities, appealed to me. As the body developed, the wall took on even more connotations as a metaphor of separation, with recent political events like Donald Trump’s wall and his Muslim ban, contextualizing the work in a manner differently yet not opposed to the original intent.” 

Veer Munshi

Relics from Lost Paradise is an expression of the situation in Kashmir, which happens to be my homeland. I perceive my position in this war-like situation as an outsider-insider, where the personal becomes political to condemn the human loss be it soldier or civilian. It made me often think,why war? Followed by the questions: ‘What is war?’ ‘What causes war?’ ‘What is the relationship between human nature and war?’ ‘Can war ever be morally justifiable?’

The answers lead to more specific ethical and political questions. The philosophy of war is complex.The subject matter lends itself to metaphysical and epistemological considerations, to the philosophy of mind and of human nature. The bones in the casket here belong to both victims and victimizers for reasonsindifferent to their ideologies. They are decorated inpapier mache by Kashmiri craftsmen as a tribute if declared a martyr, or for peace or to retain their rich heritage of craft and belonging.” 

Waseem Ahmed

“My work is based on current social and political issues and the incidents in my surroundings where religion is the base of every conflict. I depict these harsh realities using images from the past to show how only names have changed and stories of war and conflicts remain the same. My inspiration mostly comes from common people I interact with on a daily basis such as shopkeepers, milkmen, electricians, and the imam of the mosque near my house where I pray and their views regarding society and politics. I observe how these people change with changing (social, religious and political) times and create a common ground between their opinions and the ideas of intellectuals.”

ABOUT LATITUDE 28

Through curated shows, careful strategizing and discovering emerging artists with exciting practices, Latitude 28 over the years has become synonymous with cutting edge art coming out of the country, seeking out fresh perspectives in its attempt to stimulate commercial interest in new waves of art-making. The establishment aims to cultivate a space where collectors and art enthusiasts can interact with younger artists and their practices. It provides a horizontal environment where younger artists are able to contextualise their work alongside the masters of Indian art, experiment with medium, material and institutional critique. It has supported Priyanka D’Souza, Sudipta Das, KartikSood, Anindita Dutta, DeepjyotiKalita, and Shweta Bhattad in their innovative practices, exhibiting them alongside veterans such as AnupamSud and BaijuParthan. The outfit maintains an outlook that accommodates South Asian art practices and has neo-miniaturist artists like Waseem Ahmed, Khadim Ali and Mohammad Ali Talpur in its fold. The gallery collection consequently includes cutting edge contemporary alongside modern masters.

 Latitude 28 has been imagined as an incubation space, generating ideas through curatorial projects, site-specific artworks, artist talks and curated walks. Exhibitions such as ‘In You Is The Illusion Of  Each Day’ - curated by Dr. Maya Kóvskaya, 2011, ‘Slipping Through The Cracks’-curated by Meera Menezes, 2012, ‘Crossing Over’ - curated by AmbereenKaramat, 2013  and ‘Sacred/Scared’ - curated by Nancy Adajania, 2014 tried to initiate renewed readings of artworks within art historical/ socio-political contexts.

Latitude 28 frequently travels to International art fairs, and supports our artists’ presence at biennales around the world. The gallery has participated in  various art festivals and summits including Art Gwangju (2012), Art HK (2013), Dhaka Art Summit (2014), and Art Dubai (2015), India Art Fair (2010-15) and recently in Delhi Contemporary Art Weekend (2017), amongst others. Latitude 28 is also committed to generating discourse on contemporary art through projects that are not-for-profit, interacting with the public sphere, and commissioning research articles and critical writing from critics, curators and researchers. It has also partnered with similar initiatives, facilitating several special projects at the India Art Fair over the years. This investment in the discursive prompted Latitude 28 to support TAKE on Writing | Critic-Community: Contemporary Art Writing in India organized by TAKE on art (its sister publication), an intensive destination workshop in Goa to cultivate dialogue among peers on art criticism. The gallery supported Critical Writing Ensemble’s Baroda Chapter, MS University of Baroda in December 2015, as well as the Dhaka Chapter of CWE, conceptualised by Katya Garcia Anton that was held in collaboration with OCA, Norway at the Dhaka Art Summit in 2016. Most recently, the gallery supported ‘The Book – Ensemble’ in New Delhi, as well as ‘The Book - The New Writing Group’ workshop organized by TAKE on art in December of 2016. 

Latitude 28’s vision is shaped by its Founder/Director, BhavnaKakar, who has over a decade’s experience as a curator, editor, and art consultant. 

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