Curatorial Statement

Identity and the processes of its fabrication are intriguing issues. At various levels - personal (psychological and physiological), social or national - 'identity' is something that, even though is such an innate part of our being, ironically, is a construct. The processes of that 'construction' are fascinatingly innovative and imaginative and most interestingly in conformity with socio-psychological, popular tropes. Facebook, for instance, is one of the greatest contemporary examples of being a platform that urges, even forces one to constantly 'invent' identities and project them in keeping with the protagonist's tastes/preferences etc. 

Memory is a curious catalyst in the creation and propagation of this identity-formation. At a certain distance in time, it often becomes difficult to tell memory from imagination. Further, when it gets selective, for reasons that could range from trauma to catharsis, it complicates matters - not necessarily in a pejorative sense. Matters get problematised further, when multiple identities co-exist in perfect or not-so perfect harmony and each vies with the other to be brought to the forefront in tandem with convenience or whims of the heart. This show looks at the varied ways in which memory and identity coalesce or diverge to produce colourful mélanges.

About the Artists

Adip Dutta
 
Born in 1970 in Kolkata, Adip Dutta received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Calcutta in 1994. He then went on to receive another Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Department of Sculpture at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, in 1998 and 2000 respectively. Dutta also served as a member of the Faculty of Visual Arts at his alma mater, Rabindra Bharati University.
 
Traditional image-making and folk art constitute the core concerns of Dutta’s artworks. The Craft Council of West Bengal commissioned him to research the sociological impact of earthenware and terracotta votives in eastern India. Dutta has also worked in a traditional dokra workshop and is a regular contributor to Art India magazine. His work, along with his research, articles and teaching, aims to increase cultural awareness about folk art and traditional art techniques.
 
Dutta has participated in several solo and group exhibitions around the country as well as internationally. Solo shows of his work include ‘MAN – NAM’ at Aicon Gallery, London, in 2007; ‘The Mould Confronting a Snake – The Theatre of the Absurd’ at Project 88, Mumbai, in 2006; and ‘Installation in Sculpture’ at Art Heritage, New Delhi, in 2003. Group shows in which his works have been featured include ‘Works on Paper – 2012′ at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, in 2012; ‘Lost for Words’ at Art Musings, Mumbai, in 2012; and ‘Enduring Legacy’ at Akar Prakar, Kolkata, and Neumeister Gallery, Munich, in 2011.
 
In 2002, Adip Dutta received the Charles Wallace Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. He was also honoured by the Paul Foundation in 2001.
 
The artist currently lives and works in Kolkata.
 
Alice Dittmar
 
Alice Dittmar was born in 1978 in Ried im Innkreis, Austria. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich from 1999-2006 and was conferred the title ‘Meisterschülerin’ by Professor Nikolaus Lang. Upon completing her studies, Alice participated in several international artist residencies, including: Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, 2008 / 2012-13; pilot projekt Düsseldorf, 2009; Tafe, Perth, 2010; Schieleartcentrum, Cesky Krumlov, 2010; and Alexander Ochs Gallery, Beijing, 2011.
 
Alice was invited by the German Goethe Institute Beijing, to conduct a lecture at UCCA, 798 Art District Beijing, on her artist book and exhibition: ‘My daily Beijing diary’ (2008). In 2010, her artist book ‘Alice-D in Wonderland’ was published; the drawings from this project were exhibited at Kulturmodell, Passau. This was followed by: ‘Beijing Series 2011’, a solo exhibition at Alexander Ochs Gallery, Beijing; ‘Invented Identities’ (2014), a group show at Shrine Empire Gallery, New Delhi; and ‘Pattern∞Landscapes’ (2014), a solo show at Ying Gallery, Beijing, which also represents her.
 
In 2012 Alice commenced her research project: ‘Ambiguous landscapes – untangling transcultural interweavings through materiality’ (ongoing). In 2015, she initiated ‘Smuggling (an artistic strategy)’, a Symposium in Wernstein am Inn (Austria) and Kunstverein Passau hosted ‘RAUMZWEIT‘, an exhibition with Austrian ceramic artist Fritz Radlwimmer. From March to May 2016, Alice is undertaking ‘Void Lands‘, a project with Stefanie Thiedig (aka Kulturgut Blogger / kulturgut-china.de) in Beijing, that has been exhibited at the Art Fai in Guangzhou 2016 and is now further installed at a Provate Collection in Guangzhou. In August 2016 the project ‘Wernstein and Neuburg/Inn – Grenzorte II’ takes place with participating artists from Austria and Germany and in July 2017 the outcome was presented in the related exhibition “Viele Punkte ergeben noch keine Linie” with works in public space, performances and music.
 
In October / November 2017, Alice participated in a studio residency at PICA Perth, Western Australia, where she worked on her project: ‘becoming temporary (2012) / becoming permanent (2013)‘, followed by an artist residency at Red Gate Gallery Beijing in March 2018. Since, she works on her forthcoming artist book “Elusion” – related artist talks and presentations in Berlin.
 
Anoli Perera
 
Sri Lanka’s leading artist, Anoli Perera was born in Colombo and has a degree in political science, economics and sociology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, followed by a postgraduate diploma in International Affairs. She then lived in the USA between 1988 and 1992 where she took part in art education programmes at Santa Barbara City College, California and the ‘Artworks’, a program for continuing art education at Princeton, New Jersey. She currently works as a painter, sculptor and installation artist based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Delhi, India. As a writer, she has contributed consistently to bring visibility to contemporary art in Sri Lanka. As a founding member of Theertha Artists Collective she has played an instrumental role as an institution builder, supporting her peers in revitalizing the arts in Colombo through strategic programming, workshops and international collaborations. Her own aesthetic interventions — political, personal and feminist — ushered in a new wave of art making in Sri Lanka from the 1990s onwards.
 
Anoli Perera has deployed her work to present contradictory as well as complex narratives that emerge when living in contemporary society, processed through an artist’s perception.  Tapping her personal family histories and her own existence in a particular historical moment  that allows her to see the extremities of two eras, Perera intimately looks back and forth into memory, nostalgia, dispositions of home/family, mass migrations, borders, women’s space,  urbanity and dystopia. Her extensive series of works such as ‘Memory Keeper’, ‘Long Walk’, ‘Logbook of Absence’ and‘ Left Behinder’ brings to surface the fragility, selective recollections  and manipulations of memory.  Her early works such as ‘Dinner for Six’ and ‘Comfort Zones’ investigated the intriguing and coercive roles imposed upon women by the cultural discourse of  family. She re-looks at the systems of value given to their creativity within homemaking critically  and intimately. Her exhibition, ‘The City, Janus Faced,’ presented a series of works which explored the narratives on urbanity, city and its chimera. Perera’s current art practice includes painting, sculpture, installation art, video and photo- performances. Her work incorporates the concept of ‘bricolage’ where fragments from different  written texts, raw materials, objects and painted surfaces are juxtaposed together giving a  textured surface. At present, she uses cloth, thread, lace and paper as raw material for her  sculptures and installations. Perera’s art practice emphatically celebrates the making of labour-intensive art works, an  exercise in which she locates herself in the intermediate zone between craft and art. She weaves, by placing or by suturing a single unit piece by piece together, as if she were solving or  making a puzzle carefully. At its completion, she leaves a sense often tativeness on the work in  terms of the possible visual pleasures that the work can offer to its viewers.
 
Dr. Paula Sengupta
 
Dr. Paula Sengupta (born 1967) is an artist, academic, art writer and curator resident in Kolkata. She has a BFA in Painting from the College of Art, New Delhi and an MFA in Printmaking from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan. In 2004, Paula was awarded a doctorate in the history of Indian printmaking from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan. Paula has been the recipient of the UGC Research Fellowship for doctoral studies in India (1993-98), the Artist-In-Residence Fellowship at Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California (1997-98), Guest Artist at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Stuttgart under the INDART Artist Exchange Programme (2000), Charles Wallace India Trust Research Grant & British Council, Kolkata Grant for independent research in the UK (2007), and Artist-in-Residence at the Britto Arts Trust, Dhaka (2008). She was listed among the Top Twenty for the Skoda Art Prize for 2011. 
 
She is currently Assistant Professor in Printmaking at the Faculty of Visual Arts, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata and has also taught as Guest Faculty at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata from 1999-2003. She is Secretary of Khoj Kolkata, an artist-led initiative dedicated to promoting alternative art practices. She travels, works, exhibits, curates, and publishes extensively in India and abroad. She has shown with the Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California; Nehru Centre, London; Drik Gallery, Dhaka; Project 88, The Loft, Tao Art Gallery, Sakshi Gallery, and Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai; Gallery Espace, Gallery Threshold, and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi; Gallery OED, Kochi; Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore; Gallery Veda and Apparao Galleries, Chennai; and the Birla Academy of Art & Culture, CIMA, Galerie 88, Anant Art, Akarprakar, Ganges Art Gallery, Gallery Experimenter, The Harrington Street Arts Centre, and ICCR, Kolkata, among others.     
 
Trained as a traditional printmaker, Paula’s repertoire as an artist includes broadsheets, artist’s books, objects, installation-performance work, and community art projects. Her project Rivers of Blood (exhibited at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai in August-September 2010) focused on enforced migration and resultant physical and psychological displacement against the backdrop of Colonial Bengal and its consequent partition. This was followed by a sequel Lv, Pony (exhibited at Gallery Espace, New Delhi in July-August 2011) that explores the history of conflict between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, in particular the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation, dwelling upon the anxieties generated by the phenomenon of war. Her current work examines the flight of the Tibetan refugees into exile and the loss of the homeland. This project, titled Into Exile, was exhibited solo at Apparao Galleries, Chennai in December 2013-January 2014 and in a group show Cabinet, Closet, Wunderkammer curated by Geeta Kapur at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai in January-March 2014.  
 
In October 2012, Paula curated an exhibition and authored a seminal publication titled The Printed Picture: Four Centuries of Indian Printmaking with the Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi. This is a culmination of nearly two decades of research and scholarly interest in the history of Indian printmaking. Her other curatorial projects include The Print & Beyond (Ganges Art Gallery, Kolkata – 2013), Stains on my Chintz (The Harrington Street Arts Centre, Kolkata – 2010), and Tell-Tale: Fiction, Falsehood & Fact (Gallery Experimenter, Kolkata – 2009).
 
In June 2013, Paula published her doctoral thesis, Foreign & Indigenous Influences in Indian Printmaking with LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrucken, Germany.
 

Workshop