Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Exploring ideas of belonging, alienation, history and memory

Cutting right to the heart of cultural relations in 21st century, a new thematic show looks to grapple with the fragile relationship existing between restless self and place in a complex world of transitory identities alongside contested geographies. Gathered from the vast collection of the British Council, it’s conceived as a unconventional take on contemporary British art. Curated by Latika Gupta, it includes over 80 works by 28 renowned modern & contemporary artists from that country.

‘Homelands’, as a press release explains, has already led to a multi-layered program that is comprised of public exhibits in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata,. It includes artist talks, seminars, outreach activities, workshops, curator-led walks etc. The event is backed by a network of public-private partnerships courtesy the British Council. It epitomizes a new funding model for development of public art in India. Partners assisting to hold the pan-Indian exhibit include Kotak Mahindra Bank, Jaguar and Christie’s.

The outreach program, additionally supported by Outset India, is also focused on developing and cultivating unique, local partnerships and encouraging collaboration and dialogue between institutions in Indi and the UK. The exhibition was first held in Delhi at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in January 2013, followed by Kolkata’s Harrington Street Arts Centre in March. It has opened at Mumbai’s Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and will move to Bengaluru in the last week of June.

From the participating group of artists, there are no less than 8 Turner Prize winners and nominees like Jeremy Deller, Richard Long, Grayson Perry, Gillian Wearing, Mona Hatoum, Langlands & Bell, George Shaw and Cornelia Parker. Four of the artists Were invited to India, namely Mona Hatoum, Zineb Sedira, Suki Dhanda and Anthony Haughey to engage with audiences, deliver public talks and hold workshops.  

The works together essentially try to excavate the unique concept of a ‘homeland’ and unveil a rich plurality of meaning; specific ideas of belonging, alienation, history and memory.

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