Thursday, 2 February 2012

From Chennai....

I am currently in Chennai where the exhibition I have curated titled  "Quiet Conversations from the Courtyard" is being hosted by Asvita Gallery. The four artists in the show, Karishma D'souza - Kim Kyoungae - Malavika Rajnarayan - Sonatina Mendes- are all artists who belong to the collective studio in Baroda.

The exhibition is once again my insistence to draw attention to the more quiet articulation of young artists who are not driven to make art that is loud in the proclamation of its intentions, but who instead negotiate the personal spaces of discourse to comprehend the many nuanced areas of identity as urban Indians.

I am often saddened by the wasted opportunities of  Indian curators who appear to desire to serve the western definitions of "global art"  in a rather self-serving  need to "fit in" with the "international curatorial bandwagon"! The predictability  and incestuous sameness of ideas is now rather tiresome, with every major text almost always  bearing the same authorship of these "sanctioned" few. Good as these curators  are we need to take risks and get new blood into the arena. I think the curators of the Kiran Nader museum need to be congratulated for the quiet work they do to produce amazing shows for a public audience that are crafted from a comprehension of understanding the responsibility of the role of curation.

No cultural space as diverse as what we have in India should become so closed and rigid. The same dogmas that conservative cultural insistence produces  can also become a similar currency for progressive decay,  when only a few are bestowed with "presenting" contemporary cultural enquiries, making it into a fiefdom that is dangerous.

I always encourage that we need to become much more aware of the responsibility of knowing what exists in the visual arts when conceiving projects that may fall outside of personal interest; because if this is what will guide the roadmap of our contemporary history, then once again it will undoubtedly be a skewered one that is imprinted from partisan affiliations alone.

So let us acknowledge therefore too that if curators are to be informed by a contemporary cultural history they need to have a greater humility to be informed by a wider viewing of art; and to step out of their ivory towers of insularity that now have become comfort zones. Indian art has so much that goes unnoticed because there is no data base that such people democratically create. We need to avail of technology where we allow facilities like the cloud to offer curatorial  assistance to make data bases that invite artists to leave visuals to be viewed. I do hope that our Bombay and Delhi curator friends will hopefully  wake up before it is too late and change their methodologies to make for more truthful representations of Indian contemporary cultural history!

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