Titled Episteme, the exhibition explores material relevance and the impact of socio-political history through the eyes of the artists

This city exhibition features artists who are responding to social as well as historical narratives through their work

author_img Dyuti Roy Published :  17th November 2021 11:53 AM   |   Published :   |  17th November 2021 11:53 AM
Sangam Vankhade.

An untitled work by artist Sangam Vankhade.

Pinaki Rajan Mohanty, a sculptor from Odisha, would often collect stones from Chilika Lake along with repurposed wood from port makers. He used these as mediums to comment on the overall effect of human action on the environment. “I portray the birds of Chilika Lake and show how the use of pesticides has affected their biodiversity,” Mohanty shares. A collection of these sculptures is presented at an exhibition at Art Centrix Space (ACS), Vasant Kunj. The exhibition that started on November 11 has the artist’s work on display till December 11. Titled ‘Episteme’, the group show—their first exhibition of the season—explores material relevance and the impact of socio-political history through the eyes of the artists. 

The artists here are similar to historians—their work creates narratives by questioning topics including ecological problems, man-made capitalist problems, colonialism, power relations, indigenous cultural practises, and forms of communication like Braille. Curated by Monica Jain, Director of ACS, the artists work with multiple surfaces including canvas, paper, marble, fibreglass, trying to project their subconscious understanding of the world. “This exhibition is a collection by artists who have an unconscious knowledge of their surrounding environment. They are sanguine observers of our society,” says Jain. 


An untitled  work by artist Sangam Vankhade 

Visuals of an era
Anjum Rizve from Kerala mixes fine art with craft-based design. Using lace and sequins, his visual imagery comprises textures and motifs that he sees around him. One of his paintings has the artist as an observer, holding a magnifying glass to the world. Similarly, contemporary artist Manish Sharma from Rajasthan works on the idea of nostalgia evoked as part of a person’s strong intentions to escape from the oppressive present. His post-pandemic piece titled ‘Flying Senses’ (2) speaks of the numbing of senses during COVID-19. “These senses want to fly free but are unable to do so. I have used 25-karat gold to portray the idea that our senses are the epitome of one’s being,” says Sharma. 

Mainaz Bano from Lucknow recalls a past of harmony through her paintings. Commenting on her collection ‘Equilibrium of Inheritance’ (3), Bano says, “Lucknow is a city of amalgamation of different religions. I try to portray the positive balance of both Hindu and Islamic cultures, taking motifs from the past to represent the harmony with which both these religions existed and should exist.”

Creating an impact
The imagery, which the viewers take back, will have a long-lasting impact on their collective consciousness. This exhibition, therefore, helps reflect a subjective understanding of the era displayed in it. Speaking of ‘Ornament’, his favourite piece showcased at the exhibition by Kundan Mondal, Sib Das, Manager of ACS, concludes, “It is interesting to see how materials have a history of their own. Mondal’s work, which visualises tribal ornaments as weapons through a number of mediums, is a very South Asian representation.”