• ‘I Am’: An International Exhibition | Kolkata, India

     

    2017-02-27-PHOTO-00000190On occasion of the International Women’s Day 2017, an  ensemble show of 25 women artists was organised by A.M. (Art Multi-disciplines) Studio, in Kolkata.

    The exhibition, conceived and curated by Ushmita Sahu, wanted to create a dialogue that would go beyond the gallery and involve the community.

    Hence right from the outset, several measures were taken to ensure a sustained dialogue with the artists as well as the viewers. Each artist was asked to respond to the words  ‘I Am’ through prose or poetry, which were then printed as bookmarks that could be taken away by the viewers.  The viewers were also asked to write their version of ‘I Am’ which became part of the Gallery display.

    An interactive drawing session and walk through, which saw a lot of inquisitive questions and discussion, was organized for the neighborhood.

     

    Curator’s Note

    5-3"Are gender centric exhibitions a valid trope today or are they just a dated cliché? Is conceiving an exhibition through the rubric of femininity important, or do such parameters only help to create a feeling of unease or restriction because not everyone identifies with such evaluations?

    When I was trying to conceive “I am”, these questions positioned themselves as my liminal guiding principles.

    It is easy to pass off an all women show by claiming to be a struggle for equality. While this is essentially true, however, I also believe that struggle is not the prerogative of any single group or gender. There are multitude stories of struggle and marginalisation irrespective of gender.  However here, in this show, we focus on what makes a woman unique.

    7-4Like life itself, a woman encompasses multitudes and exists beyond predetermined stereotypes. Highlighting this diversity “I Am” is a celebratory tribute to the indomitable spirit of women through the works of twenty-five inter-generational artists, which includes new names fresh from art school to groundbreaking luminaries.

    And so, just as any other group of people or friends come together to talk, discuss and dissent, here too the collection of various female voices speaking via their creativity, turn into an anthology, a dialogue that often overlaps, interplays and resonates with each other weaving multi-hued stories."  (Ushmita Sahu, artist and curator)

    Click HERE to see the 'I am' Exhibition Gallery

     

     Two examples of writings by ‘I am’ artists

    "I am woman. You may see me in the movies. I am often referred to as "weak''. You may see me as a woman who needs to be rescued.

    When you read a book, you will find me as a woman with only romantic interests, or vulnerable, or as a victim, or a mother. Very few movies and books project me as a three dimensional character.  

    I hope someday the world will understand that being "strong" isn't just about physical strength, or having strong convictions, but about being flawed, complex and realistic."  (Promiti Hossain, Bangladesh)

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    "I am the suffocating disparity wrapped up in the shiny stitches of Zardozi

    I am the trembling flight still breathing in the glass jar

    I am the memory of the warm undercurrent of the frozen river

    I am the lotus pond of the known and the light years of the unknown

    I am the mesmerizing fragrance still travelling in the minds

    Searching…….. researching……… /  I am who I am /  I am who I could be /  I am who I would be /  I am exactly who you are."  (Sabrina Osborne, United Kingdom)

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    A Performance Piece 

    by Arni Sarkar, M.F.A. student at Visva Bharati University, took place in the gallery on the day of the opening.

    The piece,  a collaboration between artist and curator, questioned the Indian obsession with fair skin.

    Arni’s performance was followed by heated debate, as most Indian women have, at some point of time in their lives, faced discrimination due to their skin tone. This is still a serious issue in this age and time, as ‘fairness creams’, promoted by famous film stars, are a multimillion-dollar industry in India.

    With a growing awareness amongst the younger generation, there has recently been a backlash in the social media against these companies, as well as several campaigns aimed at eradicating this bias. The performance touched a deep-rooted emotional chord within the viewers.

    "Fair & Lovely and all other fairness creams have propagated a mindset in India, which is predominantly a dark skinned country, that only ‘fair’ is ‘lovely’ and fairness is the mark of success in life. I feel that a person’s complexion should not be a reason for discrimination against them."  (Arni Sarkar, performance artist)

     

    Public Art Project

    A public arts project was also organised, in keeping with AM Studio's aim of connecting with local people. It was received with open arms by the community, and on the day of the mural painting, the lane became the catalyst of conversation and interaction.

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    Artist Moutushi Chakraborty, along with students of Amity School of Fine Art, collaborated in creating a Wall Mural Public Arts Project. Facilitated by Ayan Mukherjee, Director of AM Studio, and curator Ushmita Sahu, the project took place in Bijoygarh, South Kolkata, on  March 17.

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     "A nondescript factory wall, in close proximity to AM Studio, was was arranged for the purpose by AM Studio.

    Since the project was an integral part of the exhibition ‘I AM’ curated by Ushmita Sahu in celebration of International Women’s Day, I chose for it the theme ‘Power of Femininity’.

    Two full figured feminine forms loom large amidst the entire stretch of the mural; their dark complexion a beautiful contrast against the grey wall, challenging any fixed notions of female body. 13-2It was again a celebration of everywoman, hence very subtly a point was made with the two figures adorned with bright images of flora and fauna.

    Using cardboard-stencils, colours were spray painted onto the wall with great enthusiasm by the participants.

    The final image was a brilliant riot of colours that not only enlivened the wall and alley, but that sparked much enthusiasm among the residents of the community and curious passersby.

    It once again reconfirmed the adage, ‘Art is most successful when it is shared.’"  (Moutushi Chakraborty,  participant artist/educator)

     

    Artists’ comments about participating in 'I Am'

    25“I am” are the most important, simple, yet heavy words that hold our identity. Participating in  a wonderful show on the theme ‘I am’ was a nice experience  for me.

    The most  interesting aspect of the show was all the works were in small format, which created an intimate language. My work ‘Concrete Leakage’ is mainly about the relationship between me and the objects in my home, and on how the fragile human life leaves behind certain incidents, and sensitivity within the concrete structures of our private spaces.

    The performance and the public interaction gave the show a much larger dimension.  (Jayeti Bhattacharya, West Bengal)

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    ‘We all have an idea of who we are, but that idea is rarely challenged or put to test .

    23The simple task given to the artists by the curator Ushmita Sahu, to complete the sentence I am ....... , led to the introspection of a spectrum of roles and attributes that I have assumed to get to what I am today. 

    That which defined me internally and from another's perspective does not necessarily represent who I am today. The roles are ever changing and never static.

    It is the strength of the attributes I possess like passion, loyalty, ferociousness, kindness, and sense of purpose  that enabled me to do justice  to the roles I play. Today, in introspection, the wellspring of my being comes from Creating, Nurturing, Protecting. The 'I am....' Project came as an opportunity to revisit the concept of who I am’.  (Priti Vadakkath, Kerala, India)

    " We never know how high we are  / Till we are called to rise;

    And then, if we are true to plan / Our statures touch the skies”

    (Emily Dickinson)

     

    The "I am" exhibition opened on March 8, 2017, and ran through March 29. The Public Art Project took place on March 17.  It was reviewed in several leading newspapers and periodicals, along with a substantial coverage in Art & Deal Magazine, one of India’s leading Art magazines.

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  • Announcement: ‘Anywhere Zines’ | San Francisco, CA

    Artist Raphael Villet is celebrating the culmination of his 5-month Artist Residency at the Tenderloin Museum of San Francisco with an Exhibition and Book Release!

     

    'The Anywhere Zines Project is an activation of public space for the use of art making. Anywhere Zines is simply a space on the street for people to arrive, rest, sit, make art, write stories, and share knowledge. As the project grows and morphs, it continues its core goal of promoting and placing value in non-judgemental self expression through art. Working in the Tenderloin over these past 5 months has been a true blessing and valuable learning experience.'

    -Raphael Villet

  • Announcement: ‘The Pebofatso Experience’ | Johannesburg, South Africa

    On behalf of EAS, congratulations on your first Solo Exhibition Pebofatso Mokoena

    18057708_1853213341594529_3197649701955456468_nThe Pebofatso Experience

    Opening: May 6th, 2017

    Time: 11:00am - 5:00pm

    HAZARD Gallery is pleased to present Joburg-based painter and printmaker Pebofatso Mokoena's first solo exhibition "The Pebofatso Experience".

    This exhibition draws from Mokoena’s daily encounters and engagements with the human ecosystem and it's relationship to South Africa’s long history of migrant labour. He also draws from out-of-body experiences, politics of metaphysical space and motions of the collective consciousness.

    Venue: Hazard Gallery, 24 albrecht street, 2194 Johannesburg, Gauteng

  • ‘TL Dreams’ – Exhibition and artist lecture | San Francisco, U.S.

    Rea de Guzman gave a presentation of her artistic journey on the last day of the exhibition “TL DREAMS” at the 'Tenderloin Museum' in San Francisco. Paola Loomis reflects here on her inspiring story.

     

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    The view form the roof, the hangout of Rea and her teenage friends

    'On the Roof: the place where dreams are woven'

     

    During an artist’s lecture, both artists and community have the opportunity to engage  in rich, revitalizing and insightful conversation. No matter if there is not a crowd waiting in line outside. Young devoted artists and their art can offer something  that can be better savoured calmly. That is why we write about what made this exhibition and lecture so special for us.

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    At the Tenderloin Museum, February 23rd

    The “TL DREAMS” exhibition, by Rea de Guzman, had its closing reception on Feb 23rd at Tenderloin Museum in San Francisco, with the artist’s lecture open to the community.  With her warm and gentle voice Rea de Guzman brought us back into her life, telling us about the challenges and experiences of a new life unfolding when she arrived here from the Philippines at age 14.  She showed her artistic development and her affectionate bonds to the Tenderloin, the neighbourhood where she lived for her first five years just after her arrival to America. Her teenage years.

    Now, 16 years later, Rea recalled some touching memories of the times spent with friends on the roof of her apartment building, viewing the city from above at night, when she was only a teen ager and didn't have any idea that she would become an artist.

    Up on the roof.  Another perspective. A detached overview - that has many analogies with what we call visual art or imagination, as a different way to see reality - from where we can deal with the confusion of life, and soothe the harsh questions about belonging and identity.

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    Showing her early works

    After 16 years, the view is again different, just as it was when looking to the city below.  The old dreams, the new perspectives and  possibilities, looking back and re-imagining the past, they were all confronting each others in the Rea's exhibition and during her lecture. A complex panorama in which people, stories, and art found a balance and nurtured each others. A third position, a liminal space, where recognition, reciprocity and respect, as well as the acknowledgment of the hard work behind the artistic and personal development, found their place, as it was among friends on the Tenderloin roofs, where the dreams began to be woven.

    "Spliced", Organza, image transfer, & silkscreen

    It is not by chance that the last series of Rea de Guzman's works are using organza, chosen by the artist as the support of image transfers. It is a fabric that perfectly perform the enticing interplay of revealing and veiling of dreams. The veil and the transfer, the layered surfaces and the ephemeral lightness of the support, make us enter in “such stuff as dreams are made of”, elusive narratives that do not spare sufferings and invite to thoughtfulness.

    Behind the choice of organza, there is Rea anthropological and historical research on “Maria Clara” mestiza dresses (see 'Fabric Fragments', and also her interview here). Her lecture showed how our structure of dreams and our imaginative tools can be strengthened in re-discovering and re-appropriating ancient techniques of weaving, such as that of using pineapple leaves, after scraping them to reveal the fibers.

    The story about the “mestiza” dress is itself interwoven in the complexity of the colonialist impositions on the native people. As Rea de Guzman pointed out, today a more subtle and yet similar imposition is straightway directed to the skin of young Filipino women (only them?) who “want” to look whiter.

    "Skewed-Fusion", on view at the 'TLDreams' exhibition

    In a perspective in which visual art is a third dimension that helps us to see and understand the varieties and complexities of human cultures, art is indeed a vital tool, as well as dreams are.  In a time when the strength of our dreams is belittled, the art practices that young artists choose for their projects, such as the processes of copies, replications, transfers, mutations, the rediscovering of old traditional techniques, studying quite forgotten native languages, and rethinking religious rituals and legends (all belonging to Rea's artistic engagement) are true sources of inspiration.

     

     

  • Featured Event: ‘Echoes from the Cave’ | London, UK

    Greek artist Irene Pouliassi is part of an international artists group exhibition in London, opening today at the The Crypt Gallery. Congratulations Irene!

     

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    Dates: March 9th - March 12th, 2017

    The Kokkalis Project: In the summer of 2016, a group of international contemporary artists worked alongside each other in the remote village of Psarades in North Western Greece. They brought with them their individual sensibilities and cultural backgrounds and, responding to the history and geography, created an eclectic mix of painting, sculpture, installation, photography and film. Set in the beautiful mountains around the Lakes of Prespes, where the borders of Greece, Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia meet, this area has witnessed waves of migration, civil war and violence, leaving deep scars on the landscape and memory.

    Venue: The Crypt Gallery, Euston Road, London NW1 2BA

  • Announcement: Prestigious Australian prize won by Indian artist Harsha Durugadda

    Congratulations to Indian artist Harsha Durugadda for winning the Rio Tinto Sculpture Award in West Australia!

    16992101_10155854389117926_7297153887784969160_oRio Tinto Sculpture Award 2017

    Harsha Durugadda, a young artist who participated in the exhibition 'Translations - Kolkata' in February 2016, with his sculpture 'DYNAMO', has just won the prestigious Rio Tinto Sculpture Award of $50,000 and the permanent outdoor installation in the city of Busselton of his huge sculpture 'COLUMN OF SOUND', here photographed at Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Australia.

     

     

  • Featured Event: ART Thursdays in Obz | Cape Town, South Africa

    Caitlin Mkhasibe will be performing along with the sonic ensemble 'Morning Pages' at ART Thursdays Obz, in Observatory, Cape Town.

     

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    ART Thursdays in Obz

    Date: February 9th, 2017

    Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm

    For the February edition of ART Thursdays in Obz restaurants and cafe's (the entire main road of observatory) will be converted into a gallery of sound and art.

    We will be showcasing works by: Busiswa Mazwana, Caitlin Mkhasibe, Kilford Cement, Wandiswa Mesatywa, Adam Ampie Lombard, Byron Berry, Kevin Prinsloo, Simone de Beer

    with performances by: MikeGwenyambira, Orah & The Kites, and Morning Pages

    Venue: ART Thursdays in Obz, Lower Main Road, Cape Town, South Africa

  • Featured Event: ‘The Window’ | Cape Town, South Africa

    An evening of sonic and visual installations from underground artists, in Cape Town, South Africa. Many of the performances and installations are new collaborations between artists, as well as individual installation work that will be revealed for the first time.

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    The Window

    Opening: Sunday, January 29th, 2017

    Time: 7:30pm - 10:30pm


    A window I. A partition. A voyeuristic interface between spaces. A civilizing constraint. Gazing. At the window, through the window, beyond the window. The voyeuristic gaze: preconditioned values, assumptions, desire. The civilizing gaze: conditioning values, assumptions, desire. Gazing. An act of memorializing (it suggests spectatorship, a fetishistic surveying; it suggests participation: in memory, in meaning-making).

    A window II. A framing device. Commonly used in art and cinema. To exaggerate part or parts of a figure (forms, tones, shapes, shadows). To recompose an image. To slice up the world into smaller, more wieldy frames. To elicit metaphorical interpretation. (The audience is prompted to step into a world of windows.)

    A window III. The window. A composing stratagem. (A perspectival arrangement.) A voyeuristic interface between artist and audience. An invitation to interact with the unknown, the unknowable, the known known. It is not a linear perspective of space, but a cutting up of, slicing into, carving through. (It suggests the existence of another, entirely otherworldly, place.)

    "A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window."

    -- Gilles Deleuze

    Venue: Theatre Arts Admin Collective, Methodist Church Hall, Cnr Milton Road & Wesley Street, Observatory, Cape Town 7705

  • Featured Event: The Legend of a Castle | Strasbourg, France

    Albanian artist Eros Dibra is participating in a group exhibition of artists from the city of Rozafa Castle – Shkoder, Albania, which will run until February 3rd in the Palace of Europe, Strasbourg, France.

     

    15825757_944910978972526_1592096040704032333_n'The Legend of a Castle'

     

    Dates: January 10th – February 3rd, 2017

    Opening: Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

    Time: 5:30pm

    Legends and ballads exist everywhere. Sometimes they are very similar in many countries.
    Castles play a big part in the whole heritage of legends. One can hardly find a country without a castle, a fortress, fortified walls or bunkers. All because of wars that organized the lives of cities and citizens for centuries. Now we look at the walls of castles and try to understand their history.

    Legends help us to encounter these histories, and art symbolizes these encounters.

    FONDACIONI KALO, an Albanian foundation that promotes art, exhibits artworks from the collection of GALERIAKALO to explore the existence of relationship between legends and art. The exhibition displays around 30 artworks, by artists from Shkoder, about the city of the castle about which this legend is told.

    Text from Galeriakalo.

     

    Venue: Palace of Europe, Strasbourg, France.

  • Featured Event: Sarkothymia | Xanthi, Greece

    Greek artist Irene Pouliassi will be having a solo exhibition presenting the complexity of the mind and its corporal limits.

     

    Dates: January 7th - Fenbruary 2nd, 2017

    Opening: January 7th, 2017

    Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm

     

    Η ανθρώπινη ψυχική κατάσταση περιορίζεται από την μορφή και την ύλη της σάρκας. Η φύση μας προβάλλεται σε ένα παράλληλο σύμπαν όπου το σώμα εξαϋλώνεται και μένει το ον. Το ότι γνωρίζουμε την ύπαρξη αυτού του παράλληλου σύμπαντος, δεν σημαίνει ότι ξέρουμε και τι είναι. Συνεπώς δημιουργούμε μια μυθοπλασία και ένα ανθρώπινο καθρέφτισμα του μυαλού μας.

    Αρνούμαστε το γεγονός ότι η ύπαρξη μας βρίσκεται χαμένη και ορισμένη σε ένα σημείο “μέσα στην αδιάφορη απεραντοσύνη του σύμπαντος όπου βρέθηκε κατά τύχη”** και προβάλουμε την σάρκα μας ως ένα μορφικό όριο.

    Από τη μονάδα στην ολότητα και από εκεί στο τοπίο, τα έργα παρουσιάζουν την ύλη να μπαίνει σε έναν φαύλο κύκλο τον οποίο η εγωκεντρική μας φύση αρνείται να δεχτεί. Λεπτές μορφές μεταμορφώνονται μέσα από τα όρια του ανθρώπινου νου και ο θεατής μένει με μια επιτάφιο, για την πραγματική υλική μας ουσία.

    Ένα κομμάτι του πρότζεκτ Osteotopia ,ενός προσωπικού οπτικού αφηγηματικού μέσου με σκοπό να προτείνει καλλιτεχνικά την αποσύνθεση και την αφήγηση του χρόνου στο ανθρώπινο σώμα και την υλικότητα αυτού ως σύμβολα μιας υπαρξιακής ταυτότητας.

    SarkothymiaEnglish Translation:

    A solo exhibition stating that the human mental state is limited by the form and matter of our flesh. Our nature projected on a parallel universe where the body is being dematerialized and remains “the being”. Being aware of the existence of this parallel universe, does not imply that we know exactly what it really is. Thus creating a myth and a human reflection of our mind. We deny the fact that our own existence is lost and bound into a single point “ alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which one emerged only by chance”** and we project our flesh as a material limit. From unit to entirety and from this point to the landscape, Sarkothymia presents the matter entering a vicious circle in which our egocentric nature refuses to accept. Subtle forms are transformed within the limits of the human mind and the viewer is left with an epitaph of our actual physical substance. A narrative derived from Osteotopia, Irene’s Pouliassi personal visual narrative medium of expression that presents an artistic view to decay and the narration of time of the human body, as well as a symbol of an existential identity.

    **”Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below; it is for him to choose" Davies, Paul (2010). The Eerie Silence. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

     

    Venue: Balkan Art Gallery, Loakim Sgourou 8, 67100, Xanthi, Greece

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