The art show, Alli Illi, offers a new perspective to Japan, it's people and culture
For those who haven't been to the island country of Japan, the only way of knowing the nation, it's people and culture has been through the food, films, anime and manga comics that are available in India. If you've been in Bengaluru, the annual Japan Habba is another source to know more about the South Asian country. However, this week, a new perspective to Japan will be showcased at Alli Illi, an art exhibition that opens at 1Shanthiroad.
Featuring work by artists Suresh Jayaram, Sandeep TK and Aishwaryan Kumaran, Alli Illi offers new insights and observations of life and culture in the East Asian country. The art show is a result of a collaboration between Paradise Air in Matsudo and 1Shanthiroad Studio/ Gallery. The three artists were in residency at Paradise Air at different periods between 2017 and 2020. Each one of them spent nearly a month, visiting Matsudo and travelling to different cities in Japan, observing life, absorbing the culture and forming their own perspectives.
“All of us experienced Japan in our own ways,” says seasoned artist Suresh who initiated this collaboration. “We have a philosophical connection with Japan, and when Shun Owada and Jumpei Mori were here in Bengaluru, this idea of visiting their country for a residency came about,” he adds. Jumpei runs Paradise Air in Matsudo that Suresh says is popularly known as the ‘bedroom town.’ Located at a distance of about 30 km from Tokyo, it is dotted with a lot of gambling dens and places to drink. It’s a place that’s predominantly inhabited by professionals who work in the capital city. The three artists although stationed in this city initially, selected another city to learn more about Japan. “I insisted on going to Kyoto because I wanted to visit the Katsura Garden (Katsura Imperial Villa). I wanted to see the platforms from which people in ancient times used to view the moon and drink tea. Everyone was surprised I knew about this,” recollects Suresh. But it was in Matsudo, that the artist found inspiration. On the banks of the Edo river, Suresh created an installation — Ikebana with Found Objects — an abandoned chair and a tree branch. “I will be recreating this installation for Alli Illi with objects that I’ve collected from the banks of River Edo,” he says.
On the other hand, Sandeep was taken by the nature of the Japanese who seemed to be disconnected from each other, although they are connected through technology. He travelled on the Tokyo Metro to click images and shoot footage of people who were glued to their phones. “I loved the light in Japan. It makes everything appear like a postcard. I kept documenting people looking at their smartphones. What intrigued me is how without communicating, they were still connected,” explains Sandeep who will showcase a fictional narrative featuring the people he has shot. “It’s a combination of photos and videos. There’s a picture book with 80 photographs, seven pictures displays and two videos,” he adds.
Aishwaryan headed to Hiroshima after spending two weeks at Matsudo. “I went to Japan with an open mind. I was inspired by the carpet in my apartment that was woven in such a way that it looked like a code similar to the Japanese language. I tried to create something like that with the elephant dung papers and acrylic ink that I had carried with me,” he says. For the show, the artist has created similar small format paper works that are inspired by Japanese proverbs. “I am attempting to connect my work to the Wabi Sabi philosophy. I have also tried the Kintsugi technique to create a sculpture. There will also be works created using the Suminagashi technique,” he adds. The show in its entirety attempts to explore the lesser-known side of Japan, through the aesthetics of individual artists.
Opens February 23. At 1Shanthiroad, Shanthi Nagar