Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia

Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Gigi Scaria, Someone left a horse on the shore, 2009. Courtesy the artist.

July 10, 2012

Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia
14 July–4 November 2012

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Cnr Queen and King Sts
New Plymouth 4342
Aotearoa New Zealand

Artists: Bani Abidi, Sheba Chhachhi, NS Harsha, Naeem Mohaiemen, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Imran Qureshi, Sharmila Samant, Gigi Scaria, and independent publisher Raking Leaves

Curated by Rhana Devenport with Assistant Curator Meredith Robertshawe.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery showcases the power and breadth of new art from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh in its ground-breaking winter season all-gallery exhibition Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia.

Sub-Topical Heat is the most extensive and in-depth exhibition of art from South Asia presented to date in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The artists will present works driven by the impacts of globalisation on individual lives, new trajectories within tradition, social and political justice, urban and ecological change, myth, gender, and collective memory. Their visual languages span installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, miniature painting, video, photo-media, and artist books.

Exhibition Curator and Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport says the exhibition continues the Govett-Brewster’s focus on contemporary practice by artists associated with the Pacific and Asian region. This attention responds directly to global shifts in cultural influence, contemporary visual languages, and expression.

Ms. Devenport says the works highlight the intellectually rigorous art being generated from the Subcontinent in light of rapid social, political, environmental, and economic transformations.

“The energy and intelligence of the art from this region is impossible to ignore and is attracting wide international attention. There has never been an exhibition of this scale of art from South Asia to date in Aotearoa New Zealand. Following previous exhibitions that featured artists from China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Japan, it is appropriate that the Govett-Brewster has now turned its attention to contemporary art and artists from South Asia,” Ms. Devenport says.

The exhibition is curated by Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport with Meredith Robertshawe as Assistant Curator.

The exhibiting artists:

Bani Abidi was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and divides her practice between Karachi and New Delhi, India. Abidi’s videos, photographic works, and drawings use elements of performance, enactment, and orchestration to explore the processes of political history, popular imagination, and the formation of identity.

Sheba Chhachhi was born in Ethiopia and lives in New Delhi, India. Chhachhi’s photo-based multimedia installations examine and express the experience, history, and power of the female consciousness and explores violence, visual culture, and ecology.

NS Harsha was born and lives in Mysore, India. Through his major installation Nations, Harsha creates a vision of a world united and divided by flags, labour, and economic dependencies. 192 sewing machines are overlaid with hand-painted calico flags signifying the countries that make up the United Nations. Nations refers to the outsourcing of labour in response to the demands of world economies, as well as the networks that exist between countries. The work was shown at the Sharjah Biennial in 2009 and is recognised as a powerful and multi-layered commentary on globalisation.

Naeem Mohaiemen is a writer and artist working in Dhaka and New York City. He uses essays, photography, and film to explore histories of the international left, post-partition South Asia, and global security panic.

Nusra Latif Qureshi was born in Pakistan and now lives in Melbourne, Australia. Qureshi re-contextualises traditional Mughal painting techniques to articulate contemporary ideas about migrant identity and the location of women within history, engaging with the complex visual histories of South Asia.

Imran Qureshi was born in Hyderabad, Pakistan, and now lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan. Qureshi works from the Mughal heritage of Miniature painting, with its emphasis on draughtsmanship and the delicate repetition of decorative motifs and complex layers of colour. Qureshi redefines this tradition in contemporary terms in response to political tensions, violence, and current social conditions.

Sharmila Samant was born in and lives in Mumbai, India. Samant uses a multi-disciplinary approach, working in photography, installation, and video. Her socially engaged works explore social justice within a global and environmental context, highlighting the issue of the exploitation of natural and traditional resources. Samant’s work deals with issues of identity and explores the homogenising effect of commodification in developing economies. Samant will be working within the Taranaki landscape on a new film work exploring water, Te Ao Maori, and cross-cultural relationships.

Gigi Scaria was born in Kerala, India, and lives in Delhi, India. Scaria’s photography and installations investigate political and geographical territories against ideas of contemporary migration, belonging, and community. Urban architecture and symbolic structures are reconfigured and re-imagined through his photographs and sculpture.

Independent publisher Raking Leaves collaborates with artists to publish contemporary art projects in the form of books, videos, and special editions. The exhibition will include a site-specific reading room dedicated to these collaborations.

Sheba Chhachhi, Sharmila Samant, NS Harsha, and Gigi Scaria will be visiting New Plymouth for the exhibition opening events, as will art historian and curator Dr. Chaitanya Sambrani (Australian National University, School of Art, Canberra) a foremost specialist on contemporary art from South Asia.

Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia is supported by Asia New Zealand Foundation, Ara Wines, Radio Live, and Steelfab Limited.

Also showing:
Open Window – Bepen Bhana: Namaste, Satkara The Curry Bunch
7 July–25 November 2012

Curated by Meredith Robertshawe.

Bepen Bhana was born in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, and is of Gujarati descent. Also a designer and writer, Bhana’s art practice examines constructions of Indian identity through the intersection of Western popular culture and Eastern subcultures. Here, resplendent with bindis, the Brady Bunch is re-imagined belonging to Bhana’s world as a personal response to ideas of cultural identity in foreign lands. Bhana graduated with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2009 and has recently produced a series of billboard and lightbox works in public spaces in Auckland.

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Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
July 10, 2012

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