An International Art Project, created by Indian artist and curator, Ushmita Sahu, in collaboration with Emergent Art Space, that brings together young artists from India and from around the world for a journey of interaction, exchange, and discovery.

 

To access the Building Bridges interactive blog, click here

 

CONCEPT NOTE

 

Like a leviathan machine, whose parts are breaking down faster than they can be mended, our globalized world is increasingly plagued by growing intolerance, conflict and war so much so that volatility seems to have becomes the zeitgeist of our times. Discord, whether international or national, quickly spreads like wildfire through the world, creating non-anticipated disruptions far removed from epicenters of unrest. Social, cultural, linguistic and historical differences; economic, gender or physical inequalities; fight for political power and resources; ethnicity, religious ideology and disparity; and desire for cultural autonomy are just few reasons for intractable turmoil. One could say that the idea of ‘otherness’, of not being alike, of being different underlines the growing divide between ‘us- them’, ‘insider - outsider, gives rise to stereotyping, bias and discrimination, that in turn feeds the vicious beast of fear and enmity.

Faced by an exponential growth of prejudice and hatred, it has become more important than ever, to know about   our so called opponent, to listen and re-discover the threads of similarity that hide within the folds of ‘otherness’. Only by knowing how the other feels, or by uncovering facts that one was previously unaware of, can we hope to build connections with each other. Taking inspiration from Sir Isaac Newton’s adage - We build too many walls and not enough bridges, Project BUILDING BRIDGES aims to encourage 14 young artists from across the globe to come together and foster a voice of reason and dialogue that will help create a platform for empathy, and understanding through art, creativity and exchange.

Ushmita Sahu , 2017

 

We are happy to announce the results of the open call,

held between August 5th and September 5th, 2017

 

Given that we received a large number of submissions that far outnumbered what we are able to accommodate within the project, the jurors had to make tough decisions in selecting

the fourteen participants.

We want to thank all the artists who applied, and wish them the very best in their endeavours.

 

After due deliberation, the following artists have been selected by a jury consisting of renowned Indian contemporary artist and educator at Khala Bavana, Visva Bharati University, Mr.

Prasanta Sahu; Art historian, researcher, writer and curator, Mr. Anshuman Dasgupta; and the curator of the project Ms. Ushmita Sahu.

 

Artist


Country


Medium


1

Alejandro Zertuche

Monterrey, Mexico

Performance/video

2

Ashok Vish

Bangalore, India

Video/Photography

3

Bhargav Barla

New Delhi, India

Photography

4

Dengke Chen

China/Florida, U.S.A

Digital Animation

5

Jasmina Runevska

Prilep, Macedonia

Mixed Media

6

Kate McElroy

Limerick, Ireland

Performance/video

7

Nathi Kumhalo

Soweto, South Africa

Photography

8

Pranay Dutta

Vadodara, India

Animated photography

9

Sarasija Subramanian

Vadodara, India

Digital Photography

10

Sonam Chaturvedi

Vadodara, India

Performance /Video

11

Souvik Majumdar

Kolkata, India

Digital Photography

12

Tatjana Henderieckx

Vietnam/Antwerp, Belgium

Photography/Video

13

Uzair Shahid

Sialkot, Pakistan

Photography /Video

14

Vishal Kumaraswamy

Bangalore, India

Animation/Video

 

 

 

ARTISTS’ PROFILES  

  1. Alejandro Zertuche (Born 1989) is a visual artist and independent arts manager from Monterrey, Mexico. He graduated in Visual Arts from UANL and  is co-director of Venus Project, a performance art platform. He has presented his work in many exhibitions and performance art festivals around Mexico and other countries, including Cyprus, Colombia, Italy, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Finland, Poland, Peru, Chile and Spain. He has been part of platforms such as Biosfera Experimental, Performance Art Studies, T.A.D.E.O. and FOCUS. He is currently part of the editorial board of the emerging art magazine from Monterrey, "Fea International", and a fellow of the Young Creators 2016-2017 program in México’s National Fund for Culture and Arts with the project “Frágil”. Alejandro’s artistic practice can be located in an autobiographical vision that he links with an independent study of occultism and mysticism, frequently exploring the capacity of ritual in performance art, linking processes to generate video, sound and installation experiments.
  2. Ashok Vish (Born 1987) is a photographer, filmmaker, video and installation artist based in Bangalore, India. Born in Missouri, USA and raised in India, Vish earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Illinois. Following graduation, he moved to Chicago and worked in consulting and marketing for three years before returning to school to study film production at New York University. Vish’s interest lies in exploring human emotions and their relation to public and personal interests across  media that allows for experimentation with imagery and its relationship with fictionalised worlds. His oeuvre broadly deals with social inequalities and the human condition. Looking at the world through the lens of personal politics, Vish’s aim in all his projects has been to create a narrative – fiction or unconstructed – to open up spaces for greater engagement between audience and art, between viewers and characters/subjects, because doing so helps to bridge the seemingly wide chasms that exist between “us” and “them”.
  3. Bhargav Barla (Born 1992), from Vishakhapatnam, India, is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts from Shiv Nadar University, Delhi. He holds a MFA in Visual Art from Kala Bhavana Visva-Bharati University, and a BA in Painting from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Barla has been part of several workshops and art shows. The major motivation in his artistic work is his interaction with the world through photography. To him, the creation of a photograph usually involves forming the idea, meticulously running down the details required to capture the shot, thinking about where, how and whom to capture through the lenses. Influenced by surrealism, Bhargav tries to capture most of the play in the sequence through the plain lens, technologically morphing and merging images.
  4. Dengke Chen (Born 1988) is currently Assistant Professor of Digital Arts, Department of Creative Arts, Stetson University, DeLand, Florida. He received his Master of Fine Arts in New Media from Pennsylvania State University, and his BA in Animation from China Central Academy of Fine Arts (2010). His practice concentrates on new media art, 3D animation, computer games, illustration and comic art, traditional animation, and 3D motion graphics. Unlike the single narrative storytelling techniques used in traditional animations to amuse and entertain audiences, Chen's animations have nonlinear narratives that engage viewers to critically reflect on social and ethical issues. Through animation based on art practice, by projecting his thoughts and personal experience on distorted stories, Chen propose new insights and compels audiences to think about the unvarnished beauty and ugliness of the world. By bringing awareness of social problems and ethical issues, Chen uses his art to help us envision a world where every sentient being can live in harmony.
  5. Jasmina Runevska (Born 1988), from Macedonia, is currently pursuing her Master's in Gender Studies, and has received her BA in Visual Arts and Comparative Literature. Her works move between gender issues, visual objects, and words. For Runevska, all objects are keepers of memories: they are remaking the past in the actual present. Her site-specific installations are always different because of the specific nature of spaces and objects, lending themselves to open-ended multi-layered readings. By finding new places for old objects, she is re-making/rewriting (or re-reading) old stories about the memory and identity of Others in  changed contexts. By using old materials and objects, she tries to make works which can easily communicate with the audience in the here and now. Runevska has been part of several workshops, exhibitions and residencies in Hungary, France, Turkey, Montenegro, and Serbia. She has also been published in a collection of poetry and short stories by young poets from ex-Yugoslavia, "Rukopisi 33".
  6. Kate Mcelroy (Born 1990),  is an artist from Ireland with a background in ceramics, digital marketing and art education. She is currently the artist in residence at LASANAA, Patan, Nepal. McElroy has shown extensively in numerous galleries in Ireland, including her solo show "Effusion" with the Clonakilty Arts Centre, Cork in 2016 and a duo show at Galway Arts Centre in 2017. Her work examines evolving states of the individual, and is informed by the underlying belief that despite differences, we share the same basic human condition.  The relationship between the body and the mind, the self and the outer world and how they affect one another or work together, is embedded in McElroy's practice. Symbolic and cosmic associations are scattered throughout her work, provoking the viewers to make their own connections. The artist uses a variety of mediums and processes, including photography, performance,  and video to transform an assimilation of ideas and experiences into an expressive language.
  7. Nathi Kumhalo (Born 1993), is a freelance photographer from Soweto, South Africa. He has participated in several internship programs and workshops, and managed the digital iteration of the exhibition "A Return to Elsewhere". Kumhalo grew up moving around as a young boy, living with different immediate family members. His current body of work deals with the concept of home/ household and what it means. He has photographed his homes, family members and self using spaces that are personal and objects of sentimental value. He feels that his bond with his parents and siblings started changing as he drifted away and began to feel like a stranger in his own home. His current body of work explores his surroundings and family in order to communicate a message about how we think of home, both consciously and unconsciously. Through this process, Kumhalo also raises probing questions on issues of placement vs displacement, drawing attention to the constructed nature of all homes.
  8. Pranay Dutta (Born 1993) is currently pursuing his Masters of Visual Arts at the University of Baroda, India. He works at the intersection of gaming, digital environments, found footage, sound and computer-generated imagery, creating video sculptures. Dutta has participated in several exhibitions including "Horizon against Nature", Gallery OED, a collateral event of Kochi Biennale, 2016, and the 2017 KHOJ International Workshop and residency in Corjeum, Goa. Dutta's works deal with spaces usually devoid of human presence, instead suggesting it through a heightened sense of absentia. He chooses familiar spaces and tweaks their identity in accordance with the issues that concern him. An under-construction building or an abandoned train station become subjects of introspection. He is also inspired by apocalyptic themes prevalent in video games and uses this language to explore the liminal space between art and non-art.
  9. Sarasija Subramanian (Born 1992) is a recent Master’s graduate from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayaijrao University of Baroda. She is currently participating in the residency "Interface" with the Inagh Valley Trust in Ireland, and has just completed another residency at Space 118 Studios in Mumbai. Her work consists of theoretical and visual research that addresses human interactions with nature, exploring how each of our actions plays out and has played out through history; as humans have attempted to understand, analyze, tame and control what they deem as entities ‘other' than us. Her practice stems from analogies derived from the organic world in relation to its cultural and political implications. In the process of research, interaction and documentation, her active archive of spaces and objects continue to grow and incorporate histories and the present. Photography, photographic prints and alternative photographic mediums are used to record the process as well as the end-result of her projects. All are displayed as a collection of media that surround the viewer, turning the act of collecting specimens on its head and looking at it from an evocative and open-ended view.
  10. Sonam Chaturvedi (Born 1991) received a Master’s in Visual Arts from Shiv Nadar University in New Delhi. She has conducted art workshops for children in various Art and Counseling centres in Vadodara, such as Aavishkaar, Olakh, Aura and Little Room Art Studio. She has been part of Utsha Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Bhubaneswar) and "What About Art?" (Mumbai) residencies this past year. Time, memory and cognition are the primary and recurrent themes in Chaturvedi's works. The temporality of spaces, how it moulds a memory, and how we perceive the details of our surroundings are ideas embodied in her works, which take various shapes through videos, immersive installations, sound, found objects, ephemeral mediums like Kajal, and artist’s books. There is a strong visual play on the viewer’s perception created through immersive videos and sound installations to simulate an experience the artist has lived; video, sound, lighting etc. are juxtaposed to recreate these experiences, which can be comforting but also disturbing and confrontational.
  11. Souvik Majumdar (Born 1996) is earning his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at the Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship in Kolkata. He won ‘Best Award’ at the 2015 Annual Exhibition of his College, and was part of a group project at Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale in 2016. Souvik’s works are based on his old memories, his family, body obsessions and complexes. His art is very personal; through it he explores his body and sexuality, feeling that drawing is a more expressive medium for him than writing. His work ranges from photography and video to painting and drawing; sometimes he edits his own works through digital media, a process that results in completely different works. Souvik is interested in photograph “negatives”, which he explores by editing images, because, he claims, it gives him a freedom similar to that of painting, allowing him to transform the images into something different.
  12.  
  13. Tatjana Henderieckx (Born 1995) received her Bachelor Degree and Master’s of Fine Arts in Photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, where she currently lives and works. She had a solo exhibition, in Spring 2017, during Art Weekend in Antwerp, and has been part of various group exhibitions such as" The Number 9", at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the "Exchange Student Group Exhibition" in Guangzhou, China. As a Vietnamese-born individual who was adopted and fully acculturated into a European lifestyle, she has always considered her personal identity as liminal. ‘Where do I belong?' is a question that she carries and one that she is drawn to in others. She is inspired by lives lived in-between, the lives of transnational migrants whose belonging in their host country is always questioned, but for whom the world offers the possibility of inhabiting varied layers of identity and multiple cultures. Her fixation with the outsider experience, both in others and within herself, attracts her to the performance of daily living of transnational people, which she expresses in her photographs.
  14. Uzair Shahid (Born 1996) is currently pursuing his Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts at the Beaconhouse National University, in Lahore, Pakistan. He specializes in painting, sculpture and digital software, and has exhibited in Nothing Fest and UNESCO at BNU this past year. His practices endeavour to discover how art characterizes emotional states by creating an exchange between the object and the viewer or "interactant”. He strives to give new identities to everyday objects overburdened with meaning and significance. He takes customary objects which are part of everyday life and manipulates them, exploring the possibilities of different ways of interacting with them, so that their usual purpose vanishes and the objects can be contemplated under a new light.
  15. Vishal Kumaraswamy (Born 1988) is a photographer, producer and filmmaker with a Bachelor Degree in Commerce from Bangalore University and a Master’s in Photography from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. He has participated in various exhibitions, including at Videoteca Homevideo (Lecce, Italy), CICA Museum, (Gimpo, South Korea), and at New Art Spaces (Bolton, UK). His practice is rooted in film, sound art and installation. He theorizes ‘disintegrated cinema', striving to make non-fascist works of art. His works aim at offering multiple points of engagement to the audience by breaking the spatial, aural and visual elements of the cinematic experience. With a strong desire to cultivate an artistic practice that does not shy away from current social and political realities, Vishal's work aims at subverting the conversational fatigue around the issues by creating immersive experiences.

 

The first part of the project will be a month-long collaboration among the selected artists who will interact on the EAS - Building Bridges blog site.

 

In order to access the blog page, all artists should register on the site http://emergentartspace.org and upload their profile picture, which will appear as a small image on the left side of every interaction on the Blog. You are free to choose your picture or other symbols.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to write to buildingartbridges@gmail.com

 

GENERAL RULES OF INTERACTION:

 

1.  Interaction on the blog site will take place from 1st October 2017 to 31st October 2017.

 

2.  Posts will be original material supported by images/videos or both. We hope that you will share with the other artists your passions, motivations and inspirations.

In addition to original material, you are welcome to share links to material about your culture, art in your country, socio-political situation, etc.

We want the platform to be a rich zone of exchange. In cases of disagreement with what other artists post, we stress the importance of keeping a broad outlook. Rather than rash comments, we encourage a discussion of issues that arise. Empathy and understanding of the ‘other’ will be the key guiding principle at all times.

 

3.  Emergent Art Space and the Curator will not accept any discriminatory or incendiary views/ bigotry/ intolerance by any artist towards other participants. In case of repeated incidents by any artist, Emergent Art Space and the Curator reserve the right to remove such artist from the project without prior notice.

 

4.  All artists are expected to write a minimum of 4 blog posts in one month’s time. You are welcome to write and share more.

 

Week 1:  Create a post on a topic you are interested in. You could use one or more of the questions below as topics for your post.

Week 2:   Respond to posts of the other participants. Create a second post.

Week 3:  Create a third, or fourth post based on the conversations of Week 1 and 2.

Week 4:   Respond again to the posts of the other participants, furthering the conversation.

 

5.  The difference in time zones may pose certain restrictions to live exchanges. We hope this will solve itself as the interaction proceeds and artists get to know each other. Artists are free to interact beyond the blog, but this will be a personal decision and should not affect the project in any way. The Curator will also interact with each artist by email/Skype/phone /WhatsApp at a mutually convenient time.

 

6.  Most questions/areas of interests listed below are based on your artistic statements, while some are more general in nature. These may be taken as basic guidelines in an initial advisory capacity to start with. We hope these will further your interaction beyond the virtual platform.

 

  • * How do you see your identity as an artist? How do you (if you do) reconcile the politics of the public versus the personal, the fragile areas of practices? How do you as an artist investigate the intimate personal histories that need retelling?

     

  • * The “Home” as a cultural construct. Investigating the histories of the food we  eat, the clothes we wear, even the games we play.

 

  • * The role of historical, cultural, or personal memory as a bridge between the past and the present and re-looking at the concealed, forgotten or ignored. How can hidden layers of history become sites of re-assessment, widening already known records of past events?

 

  • * Transmigration and displacement as a global/personal concern and material for artistic intervention.

 

  • * The body (both female & male) as a contested site within traditional contexts of gender, identity, race and culture.

 

  • * Cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation. Looking beyond stereotypes, exoticism and romantic notions of understanding other cultures.

 

  • * What can bring us together, even when coming from very different walks of life, backgrounds, experiences, cultures?

 

  • * To quote Hans Ulrich-Obrist from his foreword to 'On Curating', “We should always be open to surprise so that the unexpected happens”. What strategies can we employ as artists to expand knowledge systems and respond to pluralistic discourse that can allow the unexpected to happen?

 

  • * Is it possible for socially conscious art to have a remedial purpose at local, regional, national or transnational level? Can it move authorities in political systems known to control information?

 

  • * The growing role of digital interventions and social media in the transformation of global cultures and how this in turn effects artistic language and output in current times.

     

 

The project will then develop as follows:

 

Nov. 1st - Dec. 10th creation of and submission of final works.

January 2018:  Online exhibition on Emergent Art Space

January 2018 - March 2018:  Exhibitions of artworks at:

 - A.M. (Art Multi-disciplines), Kolkata: January 10th - 21st, 2018

- Gallery Art Konsult, New Delhi: February 2nd - 12th, 2018

- Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore: March 17th - 28th, 2018

 

Emergent Art Space is very happy to host Building Bridges, proud of the collaboration with the Curator Ushmita Sahu and with the 14 selected artists, and looking forward with all of you to the many surprises and "unexpected events" that will unfold.

We hope we will all enjoy the experience!

 

ABOUT THE JURY

Anshuman Dasgupta is an art historian, researcher, writer and curator of international repute. Born in 1967 in Kolkata, India, he did his graduation in Art History from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, and Post Graduation in Art History from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S University, Baroda in 1990 and 1992 respectively. His essays and seminar papers have been published in several journals and publications like the Marg publications- Art & Visual Cultures in India 1857- 2007 (2009), Akbar Padamsee (in Press, 2009) and Contemporary Indian Sculpture, among others. Anshuman has taken up several curatorial assignments at various times, which include the exhibition organized by the French Embassy in Delhi on the birth centenary of Antonin Artaud, in 996, Khoj International artists’ workshop events in Bengal, in 2006, Ramkinker Baij Centenary exhibition in Santiniketan, in 2007, ‘Santhal Family: positions around an Indian sculpture’ for the Museum of Contemporary Art, MuHKA, Antwerp, in 2008. He has participated in around thirty national and international seminars, including Patterns of Reflection: writing contemporary Indian art (Oct, 09, Santiniketan- Lalit Kala and Kala Bhavana); Periferry in Guwahati, Assam(2009); MuHKA, Antwerp (2008); seminar organized by ZKM & MMB in Delhi (2008). He also organized the Ramkinker Baij Centenary international seminar in Santiniketan in 200. Anshuman Das Gupta is currently a Teaching Faculty in the Art History department in Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University, and is affiliated to the Curatorial Knowledge program in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, London University, as a PhD candidate.
PRASANTA SAHU is a prominent contemporary Indian artist. Born 1968, Orissa, after completing his Diploma in Electrical Engineering from Orissa, Sahu did his BFA in Painting from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan (1998) and his MFA (Painting) from MSU, Baroda (2000). Since then he has participated in numerous National & International shows such as -“Project Tihar”- an exhibition of Painting, Drawing, Print, Sculpture, Video and Installation created during a collaborative project with the inmates of Tihar , at Lalit Kala Academy Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, “Studio Gem Revisited” a 6 person show at Cima, Kolkata; - “Paper and Pigments” a 7 person show of paper works at Gandhara art Gallery, Kolkata; -7th Bharat Bhavan Biennial of contemporary Indian art 2017,at Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal; - CIMA, The Kolkata Art Festival-2017, an exhibition of works curated by CIMA gallery at   Studio Gem (Gem Cinema), Kolkata; India Fine Arts Exchange Exhibition, Daegu, South Korea-2015 / International art programme, Burapha University, Thailand 2014/ "India Today, Copenhagen Tomorrow", sculpture show at Denmark   Embassy, New Delhi, 2013/“Global Peace”-a group show of Thai-Indian at Art Gallery, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. 2009/ “The Promissory Maze”, Dubai, 1x1 art gallery 2008 / “Art for freedom” exhibition cum auction, London, organized by Tehelka art and Aicon gallery, London /-“A MAZ ING” - Jehangir art gallery, Mumbai, organized by RPG   Enterprises 2008/ - International Art Fair, Rome 2007 / “V I S (V) A” three person show at AICON art Gallery, New York, 2008. Sahu has been invited as Visiting Faculty to Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Burapha University, Thailand-2014; University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2014; Department of Fine arts, University of Hyderabad, 2011. His awards & scholarships include Eastern Print Biennale Award, National scholarship from Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Nasreen Mohamedi Award, M.S. University Gold Medal in 2000. He lives and works in Santiniketan where he is also a Faculty member in the Department of Painting, Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University since 2001.
Ushmita Sahu is an artist, writer and independent curator based in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India. She has done her B.F.A.(Painting) from Delhi College of Art in 1994 & M.F.A. (Painting) from Kala-Bhavana, Visva- Bharati University, Santiniketan in 1998. A recipient of the National Scholarship of the Govt. of India, Ushmita has numerous National and International shows to her credit. Ushmita also regularly contributes articles to various National & International journals and magazines. Some of her notable curatorial projects are The Shape of Things, Poetics of Plurality, I AM and Existential Explorations.