Anant Art is a re-launch of Anant Art Gallery which played a significant role in promoting contemporary Asian art from 2003-2010. The gallery has previously hosted solo and group shows of several significant South Asian contemporary artists in our art spaces at Lado Sarai and Noida. With exhibitions ranging across diverse media and distinctive themes, Anant Art Gallery was one of the pioneers in defining new standards of display, artist residencies and catalogue writing in Indian contemporary art.
Anant Art returns to India Art Fair this year with an exhibition that seeks to explore the notion of ‘fragility’. Fragility of life and the human condition is a complex multi-layered subject. Our everyday reality is acutely fragile, frightening and surprisingly unreal as compared to anything an artist has made up. The world is caught up in an increasing number of conflicts, ecological crises and catastrophic threats that have increased human suffering to an alarming point. Through a series of thought-provoking works, our artists explore the ephemeral aspect of life both allegorically and also in terms of its tangible manifestations. The silent fears of people which are manifest in the human psyche, the human body, and the passage of time need to be given a collective voice through artistic expression. The works presented here are an attempt to capture these latent experiences by juxtaposing strength and fragility through representations of socio-political realities in current times.
Abid Aslam | Imran Qureshi | Malavika Rajnarayan | Muhammad Zeeshan| Noor Ali Chagani | Pratul Dash | Roohi Ahmed | Suchender P | Umesh PK
Noor Ali Chagani
My art practice is about the common man, particularly from South Asia where I belong; relating to his life, struggles, dreams, and fears. Most of my sculptures comprise of small, handmade bricks of terracotta that I fire in traditional ovens. To me bricks and walls are a symbol of enormous strength; they represent social power and demarcate the boundaries of ownership. But on the other hand, they are symbols of absolute silence and isolation, seemingly immovable and impenetrable. In my sculptures, I play with the many meanings of walls, making them appear to be moving rather than stagnant, pliable rather than rigid.
The idea of possession is so deeply rooted in mysociety that people spend their entire lives pursuing this dream, yet endless responsibilities restrain them from showing their softer, more fragile or emotional side. My work "Hanging Carpet" is about showing the softer side of men. The brick cloth aims to transform preconceived notions of solid walls into something fragile and cloth-like. With this work, I am interested in bringing the bricks closer to our skin, transforming them into something wearable.
Noorali Chagani is an artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. Chagani received his BS Degree in Computer Science in Karachi and a BFA in Miniature Painting from National College of Arts, Lahore. He has exhibited his works in solo and group exhibitions in Pakistan, India, UAE, UK, Netherlands, Bahrain and United States. His first major international solo exhibition ‘House of bricks’ at Leila Heller Gallery, New York was held in 2016, while recent group participations include Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London, V&A Museum, London 2017, Universal / Personal, Hinterland Galerie, Vienna Austria 2016 and ETHEREAL, curated by Dr. Amin Jaffer, Leila Heller Gallery, New York 2014. He was invited for a guest residency in Rijks Academy, Netherlands 2012 and Riwaq Art Space residency in Bahrain 2013, and more recently the Jameel Art Residency at Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2016.
My works tread the thin boundary between found imagery and the originality ascribed to any visual that exists. Prompting the spectator to reflect upon and call into question the connotations attached to strict distinctions between both, I try to push boundaries of self-referentiality in art works to contemplate the nature of images and visual sensibilities.
I started as a cinema board painter in Mirpurkhas at the age of 12. I loved drawing and this job paid for my materials. I obtain inspiration from any visual that holds my interest. May it be high-end art, pop images or moving visuals, I enjoy juxtaposing them together, playing a game of probability of sorts to create a conversation. Laser scoring is a technique, which I have been using to introduce precision in my works. The drawings that I realize have to go through various vector software, so that the laser-cutting machine draws it as I want. To achieve the final effect the laser scoring needs to be controlled manually on many levels and times.
Muhammad Zeeshan is an artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. He received his BFA in Miniature Painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore 2003. Since then he has exhibited internationally across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia, participating in numerous international museum exhibitions, such as Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space at Duke University, North Carolina and Cornell University, New York 2012-13; and Safavid Revisted at the British Museum, London 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Funkier than a mosquito’s twitter’, KH Gallery, London 2015, Safar Nama at Canvas Art Gallery, Karachi 2014, and Special 'Siri' Series at Aicon Gallery, New York 2011, while group exhibitions include Present Re-Inventions at Grosvenor Gallery, London 2014 among many others. His work can be found in the British Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and was recently acquired by the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. He has also exhibited in Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and Metropolitan Museum Japan, Nasher Museum and Herbert F. Johnson Museum in USA. Zeeshan has won many awards and scholarships.
I was not aware of the tradition of miniature painting when I first enrolled in NCA, Lahore. Eventually I discovered the intriguing contrast created when‘abstraction’ is teamed with the careful discipline of miniature painting. Abstraction was something I had delved into in my painting practice, but the greater challenge was to bring it to a resolution that satisfied miniature painting. I pushed the boundaries of tradition as much as I could, but did not break them.
My primary concern was to do away with ‘the figure’ in miniatures; something I have been exploring in my works since NCA days. To break the fear of experimenting in such a well defined genre of painting, I also used traditional figures from Mughal miniatures and juxtaposed them with new environments and contemporary imagery. Then again, I never bring change into my work very consciously; it just comes about naturally. The only conscious change was the introduction of blood spattered surfaces, following a terrorist attack in my hometown. I have always been influenced by the political and social environment around me and this violent act brought my attention to the wanton destruction of human life. After watching televised reports of the attack, I noticed a certain scarlet hue of paint in my studio, which led me to use it in my works.
* From ‘The Here and The Now’, Imran Qureshi in conversation with Amna Tirmizi Naqvi, 2012
Imran Qureshi is an artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. He received his BA in Fine Arts from National College of Arts, Lahore, where he currently teaches. He received the ArtNow Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and was proclaimed Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year in 2013. In 2015, he was part of ‘The Great Game’, an exhibition in the 56thVenice Biennale. His recent solo exhibitions were held at Pao Gallery, Hong Kong Art Center, Hong Kong 2010, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2013 and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris 2015. Qureshi’s works have been included in several two-person shows and group shows such as Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp 2014, the Singapore Biennale 2006, Sharjah Biennial 10 2011, 55th Venice Biennale 2013 and recently in ‘Aisha Khalid & Imran Qureshi’ with Corvi-Mora at Nature Morte, New Delhi 2015. Qureshi’s work is represented in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London among many others.
Roohi S. Ahmed
My art practice investigates the relationship of an individual with the space one inhabits. It involves challenging a purely static notion of public space in order to promote a temporal logic that reflects its fluctuating character, in addition to hinting at the invisible infrastructures and its politics. By relocating and bringing together different elements, their meaning and use is transformed, and they become re-contextualized.
The sewing needle is a recurring element in my work. I am fascinated by its minimal appearance and its association with the act of stitching, be it fabric, industrial material or skin. In appearance it is very simple like a line on one hand and yet figure-like with its eye and directional because of its point. This work focuses on the poetics involved in a given relationship, be it of a personal, social or political nature. The sense of vulnerability and tension that is sparked off by coming together of various elements interests me greatly.
Roohi S. Ahmed lives and works in Karachi, Pakistan. As a multi-disciplinary artist, her work often draws upon cartographical references in order to investigate the ontological realities of human existence in a degenerating political, social and religious environment. Ahmed is an Associate professor at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) in Karachi and holds an MFA from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She has exhibited widely in Pakistan and internationally. Her work has been featured in the 11th Asian Art Biennial, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has participated in International Artists’ workshops, Britto (Bangladesh), Vasl(Pakistan) and Coast(UK) and has been an artist in residence at Cicada Press (Australia), Coast (UK) and VASL (Pakistan). She has curated Simply Paper! and her co-curating credits include: Michael Esson: A Survey of Drawing, Michael Kempson: A Survey of Prints, Aboriginal Dreams and Let’s Draw the Line and 6X6: The Labyrinth in Karachi.
I am interested in questions relating to human essence and seek to explore those feelings and characteristics that differentiate us from other spiritual beings, such as angels. My inspiration comes from exploring the paradox of desire and lust, and how even the need to curb desire qualifies as desire. Of all our attractions and failings as people, I am intrigued by those qualities that make us human.
My current work features seemingly young and innocent subjectsthat are afflicted with covetousness. All their fears and anxieties can be boiled down to lust. Whether it be danger of failure; a momentous loss; the struggle between heaven and earth; those eternal forces that pit man against man, man against nature, man against virtue and indeed man versus self, individually or in a group-all of them stand for lust and define us as truly human.
Abid is an artist based in Lahore, Pakistan where he is pursuing MFA fromNational College of Arts. Previously he has worked as a lecturer to teach miniature painting at Hunerkada. Abid has also received numerous accolades which include Special Award from Artist’s Association of Punjab 2016; Arjumand Painting Award 2015; and "Best Young Painter Award" Alhamra Art Council Lahore 2010. In 2013 he had his solo show at Canvas Art Gallery, Pakistan. His recent significant group shows include "I LIVE PAKISTAN" curated by R.M Naeem and Irfan Gul Dahri at Abdul Jabbar Gul Gallery, Karachi; "Open field "Pakistan National Council of Art, Islamabad, with the collaboration of US embassy, curated by Aasim Akhtar. "WITNESS TO HISTORY" at Frere Hall Karachi; "INCUBATOR" curated by Muhammad Zeeshan at Sanat Initiative, Art Gallery Karachi, Pakistan; The Artist’ Vision: Seeing is Believing by Standard Chartered Bank.
The human figure fascinates me as a vast space of evocation and I draw the figure to understand strength and to celebrate fragility. My interest in painting the human figure is perhaps also determined by my interaction with people; when sometimes notions of the self and the other begin to blur. The feminine experience holds pertinence for me in shaping a collective conscience; in addition to a constant desire for generating perspectives that can transform the mundane into magical experiences.
My works in this show are both self-reflective about painting, to obliquely imagine the act of drawing, creating a viewing frame and defining its borders as a laboratory for examining the way in which we view and interact with our own worlds. It aims to raise questions about what we are introducing into our existing environment, whether the objects, words, images and communities we create are themselves transgressions, or whether they are merely uncomfortable cross-overs into shared territories.
Malavika is an artist based in Baroda, India. Her paintings use the human figure to explore ideas of femininity, human connection and collective consciousness. She had her first solo with Anant Art Gallery in New Delhi in 2008 and has also exhibited in group shows in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Ahmedabad in India and at the 2007 Sosabeol Art Expo in South Korea. She has presented lectures at EWHA University in Seoul, South Korea, College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, SITE art space, Baroda and conducted short workshops at NID, Ahmedabad and at non-profit organisations for women and children. Some of the awards she has received are the Fundacao Oriente 'Promising Young Artist Prize, Goa, the Nasreen Mohammedi award for postgraduate studies at M.S.University of Baroda and more recently, the Inlaks Shivadasani Grant for Emerging Critics.
Coming from an academic background that privileges painting, in my works I try to unite traditional academic realism and my love for narratives, with my need to express socio-political concerns. I have been practicing and exhibiting my artworks for about 18 years now, working primarily on canvas and often on a very large scale. My works reflect concerns about our environment as well as my personal experiences of coming from a small town, leading a simple life, and being thrown unprepared into the chaos of urban spaces.
Since 2003, I have been working with photography and video, focusing more on content and expression rather than technology and gadgets. Somehow this fascination for the ‘low tech’ is also linked to my concerns with neo-liberal urbanization and its resultant socio-economic fallouts. Over the years I have also been exploring ‘performative video’ and reacting to site specificity in my art. Currently, I am experimenting and expanding my video practice to multi-channel projections, and also exploring possibilities in re-working and re-presenting old photography.
Pratul Dash is an artist based in New Delhi. He is a multidimensional artist working across diverse media including painting, video art, performance art, photographic art, earth art, installation, and sculpture. He received his Bachelor’s degree from B.K. College of Arts and Crafts, Bhubaneswar in 1995 and his Master’s degree in painting from College of Art, New Delhi in 1998. He has held six solo shows in major art galleries of India and has been a part of many group shows developed by reputed curators.A recipient of the prestigious Inlaks award, Pratul went for a residency at Cittadelarte in Biella, Italy. He has participated in numerous art camps and residencies and is widely acknowledged for raising various environmental issues about the damages inflicted on the ecological balance, earth and society at large.
The present body of works are influenced from activities in my daily routine, such as reading the newspaper. Of late, I have repeatedly observed news about wild animals invading into human habitats in search of food or getting lost beyond their territory. Both my paintings are based on the notion of ‘Fragility’, from the point of view of boundaries and the dangers of crossing over into uncharted territories, whether it be animals coming into human areas or humans crossing over from one country to another; both scenarios have equally dangerous repercussions in current times.
In the first painting I have painted fortune telling parrots, each holding a card in its beak. The cards resemble flags of different countries, symbolically raising the question of uncertainty, insecurity, and tension between our immediate neighbours as well as on a global scale.
In the second painting, I have shown animals trying to go back to their lost territory which has been encroached by human expansion, urbanisation, mining etc.
Suchender P. Is an artist based in Mysore, India. He has completed his BFA and MFA in painting from CAVA, Mysore. His solo shows have been featured in various reputed galleries in India including Gallery SKE, Bangalore and Anant Art Gallery, Delhi. His dynamic almost hyper-realistic water colours render the complicated relationship between man and animals in the light of urbanisation. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Signal’, Gallery SKE, Bangalore 2016 and group exhibitions‘First Edition’ and ‘The Sakshi show’ at Sakshi gallery, Mumbai 2013. Suchender has attended painting camps organised by Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai 2012 and HCG centre, Mysore 2011, as well as a sculpture camp at BDA, Bangalore 2010 among others.
In my artistic pursuit imageries of my works are drawn from a world of mythopoeia. In the momentary lapse of reason they appear suddenly as a shooting star in the horizon of my mindscape. The stroke of such visions instantly frees me from the grasp of the patterns of mundane thoughts. During that process I go deeper into the meticulous details of depictions, for instance while painting a tree I try to understand the tree in its entirety by contemplating on the very nature of it, to do so I avoid all kinds of photographic references and depend only on the accreted memory within the self. The recent work titled as ‘Let there be Fire’ shows a vast landscape, apparently a primordial forest with a circle of fire in the centre, the burned out portion of forest turned into a void in the middle as a metaphor of the void in the very centre of our being.
Umesh P. K. is an artist based in Baroda. He has completed his MFA in Painting from Hyderabad Central University in 2008. Through his works Umesh narrates a pictorial fiction of an imagined geography, its rituals, and creation myths. Like Borges, and Tolkein he too creates a range of paintings, drawings and sculptures to substantiate the legitimacy of this past. His first solo show Excavated Memories- Posthumously Foretold Chronicles was exhibited at Contemplate Art Gallery, Coimbatore. His recent group shows include Ho~ARt at Krishnakriti Festival, Hyderabad; Another life is possible, MNF Gallery, Kochin; Sound of Silence , Kalakriti Art Gallery, Hyderabad; Young Contemporaries II, Contemplate Art Gallery, Coimbatore; and July Show, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai.
Anant Art | India Art Fair 2017
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