Sunday, July 29, 2012

‘Sub-topical Heat: New Art from South Asia’

New Plymouth-based The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery showcases the vitality and breadth of new art from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in its ground-breaking winter season all-gallery exhibition, entitled ‘Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia’.

‘Sub-Topical Heat’ is among the most extensive and in-depth exhibitions of art presented from this part of the world in New Zealand. It is comprised of works by artists, including Naeem Mohaiemen and Nusra Latif Qureshi will join those of Bani Abidi, Sheba Chhachhi, NS Harsha, independent publisher Raking Leaves, Gigi Scaria, Imran Qureshi and Sharmila Samant.

They present works driven by the impacts of globalization on individual lives, new trajectories within tradition, social and political justice, urban and ecological change, myth, gender and collective memory. Their visual languages span installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, miniature painting, video and photo-media.

According to the exhibition Curator and Govett-Brewster Director, Rhana Devenport, the group show continues the gallery’s unique focus within New Zealand on contemporary Pacific and Asian art practice, responding to global shifts in cultural influence and expression. It simultaneously hosts a solo show by Bepen Bhana, born in Auckland, Aotearoa. A designer and writer of Gujarati descent, Bhana’s art practice examines constructions of Indian identity through the intersection of Western popular culture and Eastern subcultures.

Here, resplendent with bindis, the 1970's American sitcom family the Brady Bunch is re-imagined belonging to Bhana’s world as a personal response to ideas of cultural identity in foreign lands. Bhana graduated with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2009 and has recently produced a series of billboard and lightbox works in public spaces in Auckland. The show has been curated by Meredith Robertshawe.

The Govett-Brewster houses an important permanent collection with a focus on contemporary art from New Zealand and the Pacific. Collection strengths include sculpture, conceptual art and abstract art from the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary sculpture.

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