Saturday, September 29, 2012

An international exhibition of South Asian art

Govett-Brewster based in New Plymouth brings to fore the vitality and dynamism, breadth and depth of new art from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India in its ground-breaking all-gallery show. The gallery houses a permanent collection with a specific focus on art from New Zealand and the Pacific that includes sculpture, conceptual and abstract art.

‘Sub-Topical Heat - New art from South Asia’ is probably among the most in-depth and extensive art projects being hosted in this part of the globe in New Zealand. Comprised of artworks by several renowned names from the Asian sub-continent, it incorporates themes largely driven by the impacts of urbanization and globalization on individual ordinary lives, new trajectories struck within tradition, social and political justice or lack of it, ecological and urban change, myth, gender and curious collective memory.

Artists such as Naeem Mohaiemen, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Bani Abidi, Sheba Chhachhi, independent publisher Raking Leaves, NS Harsha, Imran Qureshi, Sharmila Samant, and Gigi Scaria present vivacious and varied visual languages spanning across mediums like installation, sculpture, video drawing, miniature painting, and photo-media.

The exhibition Curator, Rhana Devenport, also the director of Govett-Brewster Director, emphasizes the group show continues its focus within New Zealand on contemporary Pacific as well as Asian art practice that responds to complex shifts in cultural influence and expression. The venue simultaneously hosts a solo by Bepen Bhana. A designer-writer of Gujarati descent, he is born in Auckland, Aotearoa. His practice looks to examine constructions of Indian identity through the intriguing intersection of Eastern subcultures and Western popular culture.

Here, resplendent with bewildering bindis, the 1970's popular American sitcom family the Brady Bunch has been re-imagined belonging to the artist’s world as a response to concepts of cultural identity in foreign lands. Having completed his graduation with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2009, he has recently conceptualized a series of billboard & lightbox works in Auckland’s public spaces.

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