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Erasing Borders: Art of Indo-Americans

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Indian diaspora
Photo: courtesy: Center for Contemporary Art

By Ralph J. Bellantoni

The Indo-American population in the U.S. has surged in the past 25 years, with New Jersey one of the prime beneficiaries of this enriching influx. Even while integrating into American society, Indian immigrants treasure and preserve from generation to generation much of their vividly kaleidoscopic culture, so resonant with countless centuries of tradition.

The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster has teamed with the Indo-American Arts Council in hosting the 13th annual “Erasing Borders” exhibition of contemporary artists of the Indian diaspora. Celebrated printmaker Vijay Kumar curated the display of works by 24 established and emerging artists.

The presentation features paintings and prints, sculptures and installations, photographs and works on video, which meld Indian concepts, aesthetics, and materials with Western influences. Predominant themes include culture clashes, the challenges of adapting to life in the U.S., and issues of sexuality, terrorism, disease, the environment, racial and sectarian tensions, and other social concerns.

Multi-disciplinary artist Indrani Nayar-Gall applies her formidable repertoire of expressive expertise towards social activism.

“My present practice explores patriarchy and misogyny by inquiring into the tradition of religious servitude within certain sects of Brahmanical Hinduism,” Nayar-Gall said. “This body of work questions the hidden motives underlying the display of beauty within the rituals, and the conspiracy of dominant classes in using beauty to lure the marginalized and destitute into acquiescence.”

The measured calm of Nayar-Gall’s diagrammatic compositions camouflages their deeply subversive motivations. Her sensitive modulations of designs and symbols in works like “How to Write a Myth” slyly deconstruct the elegant formulations of established institutions, peeling away their beguiling splendour and ceremony to reveal the entrenched hierarchical systems of subjugation they codify and promote.

“The act of cutting, and unorthodox approaches to print media, become important ways of depicting and relating motifs,” Nayar-Gall explained. “They subvert the conspiracies of traditions.”

Nayar-Gall’s focus recently shifted away from protest against hidebound social systems and onto the personal narratives of those they afflict.

“My newer, emerging body of work, switches toward merging words and text with visual elements,” Nayar-Gall said. “As stories of victimization continue alongside stories of empowerment, the urgency to include the victim’s voices has become more apparent to me.”

Other artists, such as Reeta Gidwani Karmarkar, prefer addressing more purely formal concerns in their work. The sheer joy of creative expression motivated her from the outset.

“From the time I held my first crayon, there was never any doubt in my mind that I would paint,” Karmarkar said.

She initially concentrated on figurative painting, but four years spent studying in Rome at the Accademia di Belle Arti on a scholarship opened new worlds for Karmarkar.

“I found the perspectives used by 14th century painters fascinating, it was an epiphany for me,” she recalled. “Since then my work has explored different angles, planes of perspective, and false perspectives.”

The abstract geometric figures in Karmarkar’s paintings press and squeeze against one another and against the edges of the canvas, generating visual frictions that energize her compositions. Dynamic tension, a creative yin-yang opposition, distinguishes many of her paintings and public murals.

“It intrigues me to take architectural designs and abstract them,” Karmarkar said, “narrowing and expanding space with color and a mixture of rigid, hard edges, plus rough, painterly strokes.”

The center will stage a live family performance of “Tenali Raman: Folktales of India” by the Dragonfly Multicultural Arts Center from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 3. The production combines music, dance and comedy in recounting the adventures, wit and trickery of the beloved 16th century poet and jester who served in the court of Indian emperor Krishnadevaraya. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, purchasable online.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through April 15

WHERE: The Center for Contemporary Art, 2020 Burnt Mills Road in Bedminster

ADMISSION: Free

INFO: 908-234-2345 or www.ccabedminster.org

Source: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/

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India-Bahrain Art Exchange: The event in New Delhi to Feature Work of 30 Artists from across the World

Indian art scene is considered among the most developed in the region with great talent, therefore, India will be a huge platform for artists to showcase the artwork of Bahraini artists

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Encouragement of Indian artists and Bahraini artists
A painter working for Islamic Art annual fair. Wikimedia
  • Rouble Nagi has teamed up with Kaneka Sabharwal to show an initiative, that aims at connecting creative enthusiasts from Bahrain and India
  • The event will be conducted later this year, in Mumbai and New Delhi 
  • The event is set to feature work of around 30 artists including the significant presence of Bahraini female artists 

New Delhi, August 17, 2017: Indian art doesn’t seem to show any signs of abatement in the international art world, and eminent artist and philanthropist, Rouble Nagi is all pumped up to show the master that she is.

Rouble Nagi Art Foundation has teamed up with Kaneka Sabharwal to show an initiative, first of its kind, that welcomes contemporary artists from the entire world and aims at connecting creative enthusiasts from Bahrain and India through an unparalleled exchange program. The initiative is supported by the government of India.

“I was very keen to create something that will fall in line with the emergent global consciousness that has entered the international art scene. I wanted to introduce the world to contemporary Indian art and bring global art to the country so that the relationship with art is much more intimate and undeviating. The event won’t be limited to showcasing art but also consists of art-talks so as to open a dialogue between international artists,” mentioned Rouble Nagi, in the ANI report.

“This initiative aims to give a platform to Bahraini and Indian artists, exposing them to local and international aspirational values, as well as creating economic capital from the cultural capital,” she added.

ALSO READ: Indian art gaining worldwide recognition. 

The event which is to be conducted later this year in Mumbai and New Delhi will be held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the King of Bahrain, President of The Supreme Council For Women ArtBab. She produces art on an iPad, and is going to visit India for the very first time.

The event is all set to feature work of around 30 artists, ranging from impressive video art installations, eclectic pop art, to contemporary sculptures and the significant presence of Bahraini female artists.

Balqees Fakhro, Faika Al Hasan, Jamal Abdul Rahim, Khalid Farhan, Lulwa Al Khalifa, Nabeela Al Khayer and Omar Al Rashid are some of the Bahraini artists who will be showcasing their works.

There will also be an exhibition of the artistic dexterity of the underprivileged children, who are supported by the Rouble Nagi Art Foundation.

Kaneka Sabharwal, Co-Founder of ArtBAB and Founder of Art Select and Jonathan Watkins of Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, who is also chair of ArtBAB’s international selection committee, will be the curator of the event.

“Bahrain, which traces its roots to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Dilmun Empire, has a rich history of art and many historians assert that the art came to the kingdom of Bahrain from India. The Bahrainis are known to have some of the best art collections and I want to introduce art collectors and enthusiasts around the world to the talent of Bahraini artists,” noted Kaneka, who moved to Bahrain in 2009.

According to Dr. E M Janaki, CEO Tamkeen, art sector has not only locally but across the region, achieved importance as an engine of economic growth.

ALSO READ: Indian art: The folkish inclination 

Indian art scene is considered among the most developed in the region with great talent, therefore, India will be a huge platform for artists to showcase the artwork of Bahraini artists.

The vision is to bring together an art alliance that isn’t limited by geographies and widens the conception of art, in regard to which, the multi-cultural arty affair will be host to a bevy of notable guests from various spheres, including political and corporate.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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How advertisements in India are defying gender cliche

Ads playing an effective medium in moulding opinions of society

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How Indian advertisement industry is breaking the gender stereotype

Feb 27, 2017: The most important part of advertisements is the story line and it gives a spur on the social media when the lessons from the story line are timeless. Needless to say, every time a free-spirited ad is released, it not only sparks conversations over the internet but also leaves a viral trail of debates. Just in the same way, some of the Indian advertisements did when they strove to change the mindset of people with regard to gender difference. We often tend to slur women not realizing the essence of being a woman, it takes strength and an indomitable spirit to be a woman. This article will talk about how advertisements in India are leading by example and discarding gender difference.

Let’s recall some of the advertisements that did away with gender difference.

Nike’s recent ‘Da Da Ding’ ad starring Deepika Padukone as one among other female athletes is a powerful ad which got the people talking about giving importance to female athletes as well. It showcased females of a real athletic figure which is not animated and has got nothing to do with ‘legs and butts’.

(A still from Nike’s Da Da Ding advertisement)

The ad portrayed women as fierce and passionate about sports. Once upon a time, Nike’s product catered almost exclusively to marathon runners and then, a fitness craze emerged –and the folks in Nike’s marketing department knew where to mark their next move, an applause for Nike for initiating a spellbinding effort.

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Whisper, Touch the pickle ad

(A still from Whisper Touch the pickle advertisement)

Whisper, Touch the pickle ad is another exemplary of breaking taboos surrounding women’s menstrual cycle. The whisper #Touchthepickle campaign makes an attempt to purge the baseless superstitions owing to Dos and Dont’s in menses. The ad showcases a young girl who dares to touch the pickle while she is on her periods. It conveys a sensible meaning to its viewers to break away these taboos. The ad was lauded internationally and awarded ‘Glass Lion Grand Prix’ award at Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

Many advertisements over the years have sold the cosmetic product but fewer have tried to change the societal conception of beauty. Even fewer have tried to do both, Joy Cosmetic is the brand that did it in India.

(A still from Joy beauty advertisement)
The ad begins with showcasing a well renowned oversized comedian, Bharti Singh asking the viewers “What did you expect, 36-24-36?”, and shuts down body shamers who presumed it to be an ideal body size. The ad conveys effortlessly that an Ideal beauty has nothing to do with body and shape.The advertisement has a sensitive message and is meaningful to its consumers.

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While there is a lot of chaos regarding section 377 in India, Ebay India took an audacious stance through its ad titled “Things don’t judge”.

(A still from Ebay India advertisement)

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Indian participation at the international level is proof that the country’s art is at par with the western world, says artist M.K. Puri

Artist M.K. Puri representing India at the "China Hangzhou G20 International Art Exchange Exhibition"

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Buddha painting (Representational image)
  • With more and more artists visiting and learning art in the west gave the colour of modern and today Indian art stands with the best in west as you can see from our participation internationally
  • The theme for the international art exhibition that is on till October 16 is “Peace, freedom and environmental protection”
  • Two paintings by Puri are being exhibited and the theme that he is portraying is Yoga and Meditation which is a major part of Indian culture and heritage. The work is semi-realistic and attributes the Indian flavour

New Delhi, October 15, 2016: Indian participation at the international level is proof that the country’s art is at par with the western world, says artist M.K. Puri, who is representing India at the “China Hangzhou G20 International Art Exchange Exhibition”.

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“India is an open country, with both traditional and Modern culture in combination. That is why Ganesha or Buddha images keep appearing on canvases or in sculptures,” Puri told IANS in an email interview.

“The influence of the west in India started with British coming to India but the strong tradition remained a strong factor of resistance,” he said, adding: “With more and more artists visiting and learning art in the west gave the colour of modern and today Indian art stands with the best in west as you can see from our participation internationally.”

The theme for the international art exhibition that is on till October 16 is “Peace, freedom and environmental protection”. Two paintings by Puri are being exhibited and the theme that he is portraying is Yoga and Meditation which is a major part of Indian culture and heritage. The work is semi-realistic and attributes the Indian flavour.

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“G20 is an International political forum and all member countries have been invited to participate in it. It will be exciting to be a part of it and meeting the artists across the world. I will be proud to represent my country through my paintings,” Puri said.

Commenting on the opportunities that China offers its artists, he said: “The Chinese government has been promoting traditional Chinese paintings with brush and ink projecting Tao belief about world and nature – the typical mountain landscapes, birds, bamboo etc.”

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“For the past ten years or so modern sensibility too is being practiced due to the fact that number of artists are visiting west and otherwise due to exposure through internet etc.”

“The new work is mainly about portraying communist ideology. Number of artists living in the west particularly in USA are close to the contemporary western work. I saw a huge exhibition of Chinese art in Chicago by Chinese artists which was purely western proverb and western in technique,” he explained.

The artist also spoke about India as a platform for its emerging artists and emphasized on the role played by private organisations.

“The emerging artists through their personal efforts and through available private and to some degree the state support are doing well,” he said, adding: “Private galleries and organizations are playing important part as these are run by either artists or deeply connected with art.

“The institutes headed by bureaucrats are more like “sarkari” offices and have negligible sensibility about art and the artists.”

Describing his journey with art, he said: Music and human relationship have been my close subjects, some times with spiritual colour and His works are in permanent collections of several museums and private collection, including National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.

His visit is a private one and has not been sponsored or supported by the government as ICCR did not approve the travel grant for reasons best known to it.

He commented on the lack of participation from the government, saying: “Although I shall be the representative artist of my country in this politically important world event. China is providing all the hospitality during my stay.” (IANS)