On view till December 19, 2020, Ishara Art Foundation’s ‘Every Soiled Page’, curated from the Prabhakar Collection, readjusts our perspective on reconstructing and interpreting memories.
Land and soil have stood testimony to every important event that humankind has experienced. Some aspects of history become diluted through generations, but the earth is a repository of memories. Ishara Art Foundation’s latest exhibition, Every Soiled Page explores the fragments of earth, trees and soil as custodians of memories. Featuring works from the Prabhakar Collection and curated by Sabih Ahmed, the exhibition showcases paintings, drawings, installation and a recently commissioned performance installation.
Olive Tres Praneet Soi, Olive Tree IV, 2020, Silverpoint on linen, 80cm x 80cm. From the Prabhakar Collection. All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Ishara Art Foundation.
The title is borrowed from Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem ‘memories’ which was written during his time in the Montgomery central jail. Continuing the theme from the poem, the exhibition looks at how collective memory and history can bereconstructed. It explores how voices, images, testimonies and inscriptions can be synthesised into an act of resistance through a process of reverse archaeology. Faiz’s poem urges the individual to look at the soiled pages and listen to the sounds, and in that process become one with the voices that speak against injustice.
Shadow Lines Anju Dodiya, Shadow Lines, 2018, Charcoal and watercolour on fabric piece243.8 cm x 152.4 cm. From the Prabhakar Collection. All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Ishara Art Foundation.
Art has often been the tool that questions existing structures; and Sabih Ahmed’s curation does just that by redefining how stories and time are inscribed into different forms of life – like the soil, leaves and the ground. This is the fourth exhibition by the foundation that looks at how art is closely tied with human sensitivities and memories.
Touching Integrity Neha Choksi, Touching Integrity (Larch) 8, 2016, Woodcut on Kozo paper, 228.6 cm x 127.3 cm. From the Prabhakar Collection. All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Ishara Art Foundation.
The works that are displayed vary in surfaces, medium and material, reflecting the diversity in the way memories are encoded, stored, remembered and reconstructed. Anju Dodiya’s Shadow Lines looks at symbolism and imagery of identity and rebellion through portraits. Bringing together disciplines, performance, video and sculpture, Neha Choksi problematises logic through unconventional settings and absurd intervention. While Sunil Padwal reflects the urban life of changing architecture and alienating everyday reality; Praneet Soi looks at time, and how violence and unrest post 9/11 has led to the confluence of personal memory with its material representations. And Astha Butail brings the flavour of story telling, one of the most influential and rich libraries of memories and customs, along with mythology to create an installation of muslin, teakwood and book. The exhibition also features a recently commissioned installation-performance by Inder Salim that pushes boundaries with the confluence of words, recitals and inscriptions through eleven videos, a notation stand, a fan and an artist book; it is a meditative look at Kashmir and the memory of loss and homeland.
Every soiled page: Inder Salim, Every Page Soiled, 2020. Performance-Installation, Commissioned artwork with artist book, notation stand, fan, and 11 videos, Filmed by Abhimanyu Kumar and Aletta Andre. From the Prabhakar Collection.
All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Ishara Art Foundation.
Every Soiled Page makes one rethink about the process of writing and reading history; and puts forth the question: ‘where do we begin if there are so many undiscovered sources?’ It probes into the traditional ways (mainly colonial and modern) of recording memories and of digging them out from the past. It makes one wonder if we need to look at other artefacts that have stood as witness and reframe the narrative through that.