Posts Tagged ‘Kerala art’

image/carnage: visual, violence, other – a group exhibition of paintings by ajay sekher and chitrakaran t murali

// September 9th, 2013 // 3 Comments » // Cultural Politics

We welcome all to our group show image/carnage at Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi from 18 to 22 September 2013.  It is a visual exploration into the material and symbolic violence in our society.  The politics and semiotics of othering are also touched upon by the paintings.  Prof M K Sanu inaugurates the show at 5.30pm on 18 September 2013 in the presence of cultural and human rights activists, writers and artists from all across Kerala.  The group show is dedicated to Dabholkar and K V Shine.

image/carnage poster by t murali

image/carnage poster by t murali

Theme Note

On the Other, Carnage and the Visual

This group show titled image/carnage presents the recent works of Ajay Sekher and T Murali.   The paintings are mostly done in the medium of acrylic on canvas.  They deal with the themes of othering and symbolic violence in our society.  Murali’s works explore the trajectory of hegemonic material violence in the tumultuous contexts of the cultural history and social formations in Kerala.  He has painted the historic moments of subaltern revolt  and resistance in south Travancore as in Channar Woman and also vividly depicted the mutilations and genocidal violence done on the body and bio power of the Avarna women in Kerala by casteist patriarchy for almost a thousand years in the establishment of the Hindu Brahmanical caste system and its feudal patriarchal order here.  His works also make visible the repressive violence and representational dilemmas involved in the traditionalist and elitist iconography of our prevalent world view and common sense.   A scathing critique of popular religion and dogmatic faith in metaphysical and obscurantist discourses of the dominant order is also evident and visible in Murali’s vivid visual idiom.

The works of Ajay Sekher  divergently enact the micro operations of power and hegemony in subtle and allegorical ways.  His works illuminate the representational modes of demonization and animalization in contemporary politics of culture in Kerala and India at large.  The works dramatically enliven and critically comment on the politics of symbolic and representational violence and stereotyping of the minor and the marginalia predominant in Kerala mainstream discourses and the increasingly elitist public sphere.  An imaginary, symbolic and iconological exploration into the erased past and repressed collective unconscious of Kerala is also imminent in the works.  The works also try to signify the common and shared visual imagery and motifs deeply embedded  in south Indian visual culture in its rudiments. 

image/carnage catalog outer by t murali

image/carnage catalog outer by t murali

Both the artists engage seriously with the contemporary idiom of visual arts and try to represent the struggle for a new visual language and expression from within the realm of the sign and the visual codes of local culture.  In this sense the works are contemporary and vernacular at the same time.  Contemporary in the sense of the themes and socio political issues presented and vernacular in the nuances of cultural location and signification.  Through the depiction of the local and the vernacular they are also trying to resist the Meta Narratives of the Nation and the hegemonic and oppressive cultural logic the Nation State in particular.  By foregrounding the human and the ethical within the minor and other these works  resist the reinstatement and deification of local cultural elitism and neo Nationalisms or dominant religious revivalsims of the regional sort. 

These fragmented visual articulations and collective little cultural acts are done in the context of the rise of cultural nationalism and pro fascism in India in the form of pseudo majoritarian Hindutva right wing chauvinism.  The explosions and Rath Yatras are on for the 2014 Loksabha elections.  The experiences of M F Husain, Shivaji Panikkar and the recent incidents of vandalism in Ahmadabad art gallery explain the crisis and the undisputed visibility of the symptoms of the rise of fascism proper in our country and society.  The Parivar is also eyeing Kerala to open its account.  Narendra Modi was welcomed in the abode of Narayana Guru who upheld the human above the religions by the Hinduized official heads of his Dharma Sangham.

image/carnage card by t murali

image/carnage card by t murali

 The present show is dedicated to Mr Narendra Dabholkar and Adv K V Shine.  Dabholkar the rationalist social activist of Maharashtra was exterminated by the right wing fascists for questioning religious superstitions and for disseminating reason and scepticism among the people.  Adv K V Shine a cyber cultural activist and the first cyber martyr of Kerala was pressurised so much that his precious life was lost in a heart arrest following a police case and prolonged harassment propelled by a Savarna Hindu caste organization and its patriarchs.  The former feudal lords even misused the state apparatus and the police to suspend Shine from his government job.  Cultural policing, elitism and Savarna chauvinist repression are growing day by day in the public sphere and public service of Kerala and in all walks of life as part of the coming of age of Hindutva Savarna fascism across the country.   As neo nationalisms and patriotic elitisms have appropriated and monopolized the image in genocidal violence;  it is very important to deconstruct the semiotics of repression and carnage and formulate the resistance in and through the realm of the visual.

M K Sanu making the inaugural speech on 18 Sept 2013 at D H Hall Kochi, Gallery E

M K Sanu making the inaugural speech on 18 Sept 2013 at D H Hall Kochi

spectators at D H Kochi on 18 sept 2013 during the inaugural speech.

spectators at D H Kochi on 18 sept 2013 during the inaugural speech. The kid of K V Shine in the middle.

 

Emerging poet Swati and family from Mavelikara at the show.

Emerging poet Swati and family from Mavelikara at the show.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012: A Photo Critique

// January 1st, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Cultural Politics

Kochi - Muziris Biennale 2012 main venue at Aspinwall House.  Huge bio installation on the left and bamboo structures to the right.

Kochi – Muziris Biennale 2012 main venue at Aspinwall House. Huge bio installation on the left and bamboo structures to the right.

 

Pepper House in Calvathy Road, another main venue of Kochi Biennale

Pepper House in Calvathy Road, another main venue of Kochi Biennale

 

Detail from Vivan Sundarams installation with potsherds from Pattanam/Muziris.

Detail from Vivan Sundaram’s installation with potsherds from Pattanam/Muziris.

 

Part of Kochi city ion the mainland from Fort Cochin boat dock

Part of Kochi city on the mainland from Fort Cochin boat dock

 

People from Kerala and abroad queuing up to buy tickets worth Rs 50 for the Biennale at Aspinwall.

People from Kerala and abroad queuing up to buy tickets worth Rs 50 for the Biennale at Aspinwall.

A big sculptural installation by Reghunadhan K

From a big sculptural installation by Reghunadhan K

 

Digitally altered self portraits by Vivek Vilasini

Pregnant with Kerala culture, society and history: Projected and  aligned (on one eye) self portraits by Vivek Vilasini that visually engage with the world and the region very subtly but with an illuminating impact.

Cruisers birthed at Wellington Island harbor; a view from Mattanchery

Cruisers in the Wellington Island harbor; a view from Mattanchery dock, before the Dutch Palace

 

On the ferry boat from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi for the Biennale

Self portrait taken aboard the ferry boat from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi

A huge mural on a warehouse near OED gallery

Altering the whole urban scape: A huge mural on a warehouse near OED gallery

 

"Last Supper" by Sumedh Rajendran at Aspinwall.

“Last Supper for Gaza” by Vivek Vilasini at Aspinwall.  Very much contemporary politically contingent and visionary.

The Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattanchery south of Fort Cochin.

The Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattanchery south of Fort Cochin.

 

Biennale as self discovery and empowerment: Standing tall with Babasaheb's image.

The art of the possible;Biennale as self discovery and social empowerment: Standing tall with Babasaheb’s image.  A self portrait before Vivek Vilasini’s altered portraits.

The art of flying: An egret gliding along the boat on the way to Fort Kochi for the Biennale.

The art of flying: An egret gliding along the boat on the way to Fort Kochi for the Biennale.

 

Art that responds to genocides and fascism: Detail from Zakir Husain

Art that responds to genocides and fascism: Detail from Zakir Husain

On the margins of the Biennale: Artist Victoria in her Namaste Studio on Bazar Road

On the margins of the Biennale: Artist Victoria in her Namaste Studio on Bazar Road connecting Fort Kochi with Mattanchery.

Huge installations in Aspinwall.  Inside and outside we see real and represented imagery from navigation and overseas trade.  What is real and what is imaginary is a real question in the Biennale.

Huge installations in Aspinwall. Inside and outside we see real and represented imagery from navigation and overseas trade. What is real and what is imaginary are real questions in the Biennale, prompting us to ponder on the truths in art.

 

Mala Aravindan and Parvathy Omanakuttan on location of a Malayalam film at Bazar Road.

Mala Aravindan and Parvathy Omanakuttan on location of a Malayalam film at Bazar Road.

 

Phenomenal and awesome: Subodh Gupta's big installation using an old country boat of Kochi at Aspinwall.

Phenomenal and awesome: Subodh Gupta’s big installation using an old country boat of Kochi at Aspinwall.

Riding on an auto through Bazar Road

Riding on an auto through Bazar Road

A mural on an abandoned godown wall by artists from Europe

A mural on an abandoned godown wall by artists from Europe.  The decay and garbage are also part of the lay out, connecting art with its material ground realities in an illuminating way in the third world.

 

White luxury cruising liners from Europe berthed at Kochi

White luxury cruising liners from Europe berthed at Kochi

Zen percent upcycling: A French artist and conservationist making art and toys out of plastic wastes, near OED on Bazar Road.

‘Zen’ percent up-cycling: A French artist and conservationist making art and toys out of plastic wastes, near OED on Bazar Road.

 

Riaz Komu and Bose Krishnamachari the curators of Biennale addressing the people at Aspinwall House.

Riaz Komu and Bose Krishnamachari the curators of the  Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012; addressing the people at Aspinwall House.

 

A sand painting on canvas by Paris Viswanathan

A sand painting on canvas by Paris Viswanathan

Jewish synagogue from the east.  A glimpse through the eastern gate to Jew Town, Mattanchery

Jewish synagogue from the east. A glimpse through the eastern gate to Jew Town, Mattanchery

 

Artists in conversation at Aspinwall House, Fort Cochin.

Artists in conversation at Aspinwall House, Fort Cochin.

 

An antique art cafe in Jew Town, Mattanchery, Kochi.

An antique art cafe in Jew Town, Mattanchery, Kochi.

An abstract painting by Joti Basu displayed in Aspinwall House.

An abstract painting by Joti Basu displayed in Aspinwall House.

 

Distinctly displayed and curated photographs by Atul Dodiya in the lab of Aspinwall.

Distinctly displayed and curated photographs by Atul Dodiya in the lab of Aspinwall.

Kochi from Aspinwall House, Fort Cochin.

Kochi from Aspinwall House, Fort Cochin.

 

Thumbinkal Chathan by K P Reji.  Oil on a huge canvas, the painting of the Kochi Biennale that articulates the subaltern past and present of Kerala.  The issue of caste, slavery and the dalit question is evocatively but powerfully brought forth by K P Reji in a dexterous way inspiring awe and wonder.  This huge canvas substantiates the presence of the people in the Biennale at Kochi.

Thumbinkal Chathan  (Demon at Thumbinkal or Thumbinkal Sastha)by K P Reji. Oil on a huge canvas, the pivotal painting of the Kochi Biennale 2012 that articulates the subaltern past and present of Kerala. The issue of caste, slavery and the dalit question is evocatively but powerfully brought forth by K P Reji in a dexterous way inspiring awe and wonder.  See the agricultural slave, the Pulaya Chathan/Sastha in the foreground sacrificed on the bund in the paddy field. This huge triple canvas substantiates the presence of the people in the Biennale at Kochi.

Artist Kabitha Mukherjee explaining about the gouache technique in K Prabhakaran's work exhibited with wonderful curatorial intervention at Aspinwall.

Artist Kabitha Mukherjee explaining about the gouache technique in K Prabhakaran’s work exhibited  at Aspinwall to Artist Jain K G.

 

From a multiple video installation: The deconstruction of capitalism, seems to be too plain and macro political.

From a multiple video installation: The deconstruction of ‘capitalism,’ seems to be too plain and macro political.

Binnale paintings on display at Fort Kochi beach walkway.

Painted sunset: Binnale paintings on display at Fort Kochi beach walkway.

 

Kochi through the attic casement of Moidu Heritage a prominent venue of 2012 Biennale Kochi-Muziris.

Kochi through the attic casement of Moidu Heritage a prominent venue of 2012 Biennale Kochi-Muziris.

The magical world of painting and colors at the Kochi Biennale.

The magical world of painting and colors at the Kochi Biennale.

 

Before Prabhakaran's paintings at Aspinwall.

Before Prabhakaran’s paintings and drawings at Aspinwall.

Before an installation using a motor cycle.

Before an installation using a motor cycle.

 

Sultan of Indian art: M F Husain with his Ferrari; a photo by Atul Dodiya.

Sultan of Indian art: M F Husain with his Ferrari; a photo by Atul Dodiya.

A young Indian artist's perception of the elements in a multi canvas installation at Aspinwall.

A young Indian artist’s perception of the elements in a multi canvas installation at Aspinwall.

 

Painting back and talking feminist: An amazing long canvas by Kerala artist, Jalaja P S.

Painting back and talking feminist: An amazing long canvas by Kerala artist, Jalaja P S being admired by a young group of students, mostly boys.

A Jina in white marble on display in an antique shop in Jew Town, Mattanchery.

A Jina in white marble on display in an antique shop in Jew Town, Mattanchery.

 

Northern block of Aspinwall.  Jonas Stall's installation using the flags of banned outfits on the left.  It was censored by the police.

Northern block of Aspinwall. Jonas Stall’s installation using the flags of banned outfits on the right. It was censored by the police.

A glass painting with acrylic by an Australian artist at OED, Bazar road.

A glass painting with acrylic by an Australian artist at OED, Bazar road.

 

The northern waterfront of Aspinwall.

The northern waterfront of Aspinwall.

Detail from an  installation using only organic biodegradable things at Aspinwall.

Detail from an installation using only organic biodegradable things at Aspinwall.

 

Heavan on earth: Fort Kochi milked in new year lights...

Heavan on earth: Fort Kochi milked in new year lights…

Biennale as an arena of imaging and photography.  Young students zooming in with their barrels at Pepper House.

Biennale as an arena of imaging and photography. Young students zooming in with their barrels at Pepper House.

Art that provokes the police.  Jonas Stall's installation using flags or banned outfits.

Art that provokes the police. Jonas Stall’s installation using flags or banned outfits.

 

The lonliness of the hero:  Bose Krishnamachari lost in deep though amidst the crowd at Kochi Biennale 2012.

The loneliness of the hero: Bose Krishnamachari lost in deep thought amidst the crowd at Kochi Biennale 2012.

 

Photos of the Kerala bishops by Anup Mathew Thomas.

Photos of the Kerala bishops by Anup Mathew Thomas.

Where nature, art and people meet:  props of Sheela Gowda's stone installation projecting into the Aspinwall dock beside the ship channel in Fort Kochi.

Where nature, art and people meet: props of Sheela Gowda’s stone installation projecting into the Aspinwall dock beside the ship channel in Fort Kochi.

 

A still from a breathtaking music installation quartet on street musicians across the world by Angelica Mesiti.

A still from a breathtaking music installation quartet on street musicians across the world by Angelica Mesiti. A blind train musician in the Arab world in picture.

A view of Bazar road near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.

A view of Bazar road near the Dutch Palace in Mattanchery.

 

A hanging installation on the attic of Moidu Heritage by Latin American artist Ernesto Neto.

A hanging installation on the attic of Moidu Heritage by Latin American artist Ernesto Neto.

Detail from K P Reji's Thoombinkal Chathan.  See the life in the periphery still and the persistent presence of the past in the present, rendered through live imagery.

Detail from K P Reji’s Thoombinkal Chathan. See the life in the periphery and the persistent presence of the past in the present, rendered through live imagery with the Chathan/Sastha/(Boddhi)Satvan lying in the foreground.  The life of the excluded in the margin is still unaltered by the shipments and cargo of modernity and social mobility.  Marginal existence exists as a phantom or specter of the real and the imagined nation and community.  The painting is such a grave socio political and aesthetic critique of Kerala modernity, democracy and cultural history at large.  It also anticipates certain coming communities that are inoperative in the contemporary sense but radically subversive in its making.  The awesome impact of the work is in its silent and solemn grey tone.  The painting generates intertextual references to the short stories of C Ayyappan and ultimately to the songs and spirituals of the legendary Poykayil Appachan who unleashed the memory of slavery in Kerala in the early decades of the 20th century.  See the power of art that can engage so swiftly with history and reality.

 

Calvathy Canal separating Frot Kochi and Mattanchery.

Calvathy Canal separating Frot Kochi and Mattanchery.

Sunset at Fort Kochi beach.

Sunset at Fort Kochi beach.