exhibition Art

Displays of deep linkages at Shrishti Art Gallery’s ‘Entwined’ exhibition

Paula Sengupta’s ‘The Plain of Aspiration’ comprising a wooden pankha-holder, a woven grass mat and cloth pankha and embroidery and appliqué on silk

Paula Sengupta’s ‘The Plain of Aspiration’ comprising a wooden pankha-holder, a woven grass mat and cloth pankha and embroidery and appliqué on silk   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

The Hyderabad gallery presents a multi-artist show ‘Entwined: Stories in Thread and Weave’ address our inherent connections despite the current time of social distancing

The space of Shrishti Art Gallery smells of fresh paint and the muted suede tones of the walls allow the varied works of the latest exhibition to take centre stage. A multi-artist show, Entwined: Stories in Thread and Weave is curated by Goa-based curator Lina Vincent. It is a visual anthology of different legacies of stitching, embroidery and textile through artists’ lens on the macro and the micro of existence.

The aforementioned artists are Alpana Vij, Seema Kohli, Gopika Nath, Paula Sengupta, Lavanya Mani, Jagannath Panda, Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar, and Pranati Panda — prominent names in the national art sphere but relatively new to the local gallery scene.

Lina Vincent with Lakshmi Nambiar

Lina Vincent with Lakshmi Nambiar   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Agreeing, Lakshmi Nambiar says the exhibition marks the 18th anniversary of the gallery which was started by her mother, the late Remani Nambiar. “I wanted something powerful with mixed mediums, particularly fabrics and textiles.”

The conversation for such a show between Lina and Lakshmi started over a year ago and artists were finalised four months later. Lina explains regretfully that some logistics could not facilitate the works of some artists to be shipped over so some ended up dropping out. “Curation was a very specific process because we had to curate for the Hyderabad art audience, and I am used to curating for the global art audiences,” she smiles, as if recalling her recent tour of the U.S. where she gave a presentation on Indian art and diaspora.

Instinctive connects

Through her ever-growing artist network, it was instinctive for Lina to include these nine artists. A walkthrough of the exhibition would present the viewers with a goosebump-inducing visual journey. “I had gotten to know Paula and Gopika in particular as we worked together but this show was about their works so there was a new level of collaboration! And Jaganath’s works have long been on my radar.”

A close-up of Alpana Vij’s ‘What do I see when I see a fallen leaf?’

A close-up of Alpana Vij’s ‘What do I see when I see a fallen leaf?’   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Lina was adamant on bringing Singapore-based Alpana Vij’s works into Entwined. Upon closer examination, one will notice Alpana employs Korean Joomchi for her mulberry paper base that combines three layers of paper with gold thread. She then uses agitation and water to allow the paper to disintegrate and reconstitute as it dries. More noticeably, she uses 24-karat gold stitching in empty spaces on dried leaves placed on concrete, which belie her inspiration by the Buddhist concept of śūnyatā or emptiness that focuses on the transitory and ephemeral nature of life around us.

Very similar to Alpana’s works are those of Lavanya Mani who does amoeba-like stitchings on a canvas in golden and brown hues. The applique patterns unite multiple canvases and feature a unifying border of earthy dyes. Relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak, ‘Anomalies’ explores the relationship of body and landscape and how they are subjected to the unknown.

A close-up of Lavanya Mani’s ‘Anomalies 2’: rust-printing and hand embroidery on cotton fabric

A close-up of Lavanya Mani’s ‘Anomalies 2’: rust-printing and hand embroidery on cotton fabric   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Known for touching on themes of sensuality and womanhood, Seema Kohli’s intricate works, from The Golden Womb series, offer the viewer a great sense of free energy. “Seema’s works centre on versatile feminine energy which narrate stories of the self in the universe. She collaborated with artisans from the Rajat initiative where she developed her work.”

Themes of womanhood are also explored by Pranati Panda. She uses dark branch-like embroidery and fine red threads against a stark white textile to starkly confront the viewer with the reality of fertility. Her husband Jaganath contribution is a single large mixed medium on canvas with carved ribbons of backing fabric which make up the mane of a giant mythological creature. Often, Jagannath’s works reconcile the technological and mythological, especially in this heaving industrial age.

‘The Being’, an acrylic painting with backing fabric, by Jagannath Panda,

‘The Being’, an acrylic painting with backing fabric, by Jagannath Panda,   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Paula Sengupta, an academician, curator and artist based in Kolkata, melds humanity and mother nature in paintings on textiles. “She’s currently in the process of making her own textile,” says Lina, “but, here, one can see the way in a single line, she goes from plant to animal to fruit.” Paula’s works do not stop there; she has created a pankha using multi-textile works are hung from the ceiling against wooden grass mats. The imagery is provoking, exploring the ongoing destruction and conflict around heritage and colonialism on The Buddha Trail.

Geo-politics make a foray into Entwined, courtesy Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar who use shattered glass, incense sticks, cowry shell dice, smoke-on-canvas and stitchwork to delineate the still-growing Islamaphobia around us as well as the strife in Kashmir.

A visitor to Shrishti Art Gallery examining artwork by Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar

A visitor to Shrishti Art Gallery examining artwork by Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Winding up Entwined on a lighter note are Goa-based Gopika Nath’s works which bind together elements of nostalgia and the sea. She explores the ideology of Vignaharta and the visarjan and what sometimes wash up on shore after these intense spiritual rituals. The artworks feature stitching, photography and shells which combine to perhaps point out to us the state of our planet’s main water body.

(Entwined: Stories In Weave And Thread is on show until May 31 at Shrishti Art Gallery, Banjara Hills)

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 8:14:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/shrishti-art-gallery-hyderabad-18-anniversary-exhibition-entwined-curated-by-lina-vincent/article31101807.ece

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