In its fifth edition now, the ongoing Delhi Contemporary Art Week (DCAW) is packing a punch with its seven-gallery collaboration and the concomitant exhibitions, walkthroughs, discussions and workshops. Galleries Blueprint 12, Exhibit 320, Gallery Espace, Latitude 28, Nature Morte, Shrine Empire and Vadehra Art Gallery have mounted the works of over 60 artists from India and abroad at the Bikaner House, New Delhi, to galvanise the contemporary art scene in the Capital.
At the Old Building of the house, writer and curator Meera Menezes has assembled a group exhibition, called Legal Alien, which borrows its title from the famous ‘Englishman in New York’ song by British musician Sting. The singer apparently said that he felt so homesick when he first moved to New York that he went from one English pub to another just to feel at home. The exhibition explores the notion of alienation through the prism of technology, existentialism and pandemic. While some artists explore the theme of migration, whether it be across countries or spaces (rural and urban), others ponder on what it means to be a citizen of a country and still feel like an alien.
Each participating gallery has curated a diverse art show, bringing together multi-disciplinary artists with different perspectives under one roof. Ridhi Bhalla and Mandira Lamba of Blueprint 12 are engaging with DCAW to voice experimental, artistic views of marginalised communities and their identity. “We focus on introducing new voices that are constantly pushing the boundary. This year the curation is on material exploration through photography, book pages, textile, graph paper etc.,” they say. The fresh artists on their list are Kaimura and Mansha Chhatwal, with Tabeena Nissar Wani, Aditi Anuj, Madhu Das, and Koyal Raheja. The theme ranges from human experiences, prohibited or censored books, to gestures and spaces. Exhibit 320 has eight artists on board: Kumaresan Selvaraj, Sumakshi Singh, Gopi Gajwani, Sonali Sonam, Yasmin Jahan Nupur (Bangladesh), Harish Ojha, Rahul Kumar and Gunjan Kumar (Chicago).
Renu Modi, director, Gallery Espace, says, “We have seen the number of visitors go up every year. For us, DCAW presents an opportunity to reach out and create new audience for art.” This year, the gallery has showcased the works of 11 artists, including the senior artist Amit Ambalal and Rashmi Mala, who has recently signed up with Espace. The works of Dilip Chobisa, GR Iranna, Ishita Chakraborty (Switzerland), Mekhala Bahl, Nandini Bagla Chirimar (New York), Paula Sengupta, Shambhavi, Tanmoy Samanta and Valay Gada are on display too. This year, Latitude 28 brings together South Asian artists using distinct form and technique to infuse traditional styles with new media. The artists include Anupama Alias, Chandan Bez Baruah, Jyoti Bhatt, Ketaki Sarpotdar, Khadim Ali, Noor Ali Changani and Waseem Ahmed from Pakistan, Shalina Vichitra, Sudipta Das, Wardha Shabbir, Waswo X. Waswo (USA), and Yogesh Ramkrishna.
Nature Morte is presenting two mini solo exhibitions by Aditya Pande and Nidhi Agarwal’s new works, while Shrine Empire has AwdheshTamrakar, Divya Singh, Lavkant Chaudhary, Piyali Sadhukhan, Priyank Gothwal, Sangita Maity, Samanta Batra Mehta and Shruti Mahajan.
Titled Remember The Skin Whose Earth You Are, Vadehra Art Gallery emphasises the tonal saturation of brown in various real and imagined landscapes. Artists include Anju Dodiya, Atul Bhalla, Atul Dodiya, Gigi Scaria, Praneet Soi (Amsterdam), Sachin George Sebastian, Shailesh B.R., Sujith S.N. and Shrimanti Saha.
Bhavna Kakar, founder of Latitude 28, shares the details of a two-day symposium at DCAW which will be held at the venue’s Ballroom on Sunday (day 1) and Monday (day 2).
“Hosted by biennial magazine TAKE on Art, the two-day symposium features panel discussions and roundtables to assess the diverse forms of critical writing practices across India in art, fiction, translation, and explore possibilities to strengthen criticality in a post-critical world,” she says.
Points of discussion
Artworks are on sale (starting price: ₹20,000) and display till September 7 at Old Building and newly refurbished Center for Contemporary Arts; Bikaner House, New Delhi.