R: Ruby Chishti An Intangible Sanctuary of Ocean and Stars Men’s vintage wool coat, recycled clothing, paint, adhesive, thread 8 ½ feet x 77 in x 12 in 2019
Vadehra Art Gallery is pleased to announce (ME)(MORY), a women’s group show curated by Dipti Anand, featuring nine artists with Subcontinental presences or origins, including Faiza Butt, Ruby Chishti, Anoli Perera, Bakula Nayak, Apnavi Makanji, Rakhi Peswani, Himali Singh Soin, Biraaj Dodiya, and Shrimanti Saha. (ME)(MORY) sets a stage for interdisciplinary conversations around the nature of selfbuilding by inviting empathetic and philosophical reflection on constructions of identity or experience. In this excerpt from her curatorial essay, Anand writes: “Since the self is as much remembered as it is present, its narrativization requires a sensitive and cross-sectional articulation of the self as ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’ from where the ‘is’ emerges. The self-generating individual is a subject beset equally with conviction and vagaries, which are cognitively expressible in art, as in life, as symbol, as figure, as truth, as dream, as myth or as landscape. In (ME)(MORY), the artists approach the construction of these artworks as they might the construction of themselves, from a quasi-dream-like state, or an ecstasis, or states of overpowering emotion, seemingly shedding their exterior bodies for the visceral and whimsical world of within.” Interested in exploring the multi-sensory and multi-dimensional narratives of the self through world-building, memory, personal history, cultural consciousness and creative process, the show presents a perceptual collection of interpretations on the imagined or invented self, challenging the traditional literary genre of memoir by incorporating elements of possibility rather than just evidence.
For Anand, textuality is philosophical currency, meaning she considers our relationships with ourselves and the world around us to be formed by the imaginative and interpretative effort of “reading”. She asks: “If we are to grasp ourselves and each other as bodies of knowledge, might we ask what is more real: a world that is seen, or a world that is felt?” As these artists undertake the great experiment of the self, assembling narratives that are as rooted in fact as they are in fiction, Anand encourages us to embrace our engagement with aesthetic practices while surrendering our expectations of re-constructing the context in which the work of art is made – a prompting that brings artists and viewers closer to themselves, and in so acting, each other as well. The show presents a significant body of work from each artist, with a notable diversity across media and materials, visual languages, techniques and creative intentions. Where Himali Singh Soin’s sensory and algorithmic assessment of the semi-colons used in Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves is an immersive project exploring our relationships with continuity and macrocosms, Ruby Chishti’s representational sculptures are refurbished personal memories borne of contextual circumstances then extrapolated to larger, shared experiences.
Rakhi Peswani’s fabric panels are an exposition of the inner theatre of creativity and the tediousness of channeling self-expression into skill, which offer a temporal counterpoint to Bakula Nayak and Apnavi Makanji, whose post-inspiration drawings are a figural self-study of the inter-dependent emotional–physical body and an erasure of inflated values in anthropocentric human forms respectively. Meanwhile, Biraaj Dodiya’s series of oil paintings are abstracted landscapes that mirror an unknown world navigated by intuition rather than vision, a sensibility Faiza Butt shares in intermingling narratives across intense global cultures with autobiographical elements in her ceramic and porcelain sculptures. Inspired by varying disciplines, cultural consciousness and histories of myth and reality, Shrimanti Saha’s writerly art practice endeavors to establish a unique yet interpretable self-identity, and such inspiration from books finds structural connectivity in Anoli Perera’s book art, which is imbued with a selective memory that tethers one to chains of personal–historical moments. Together, these works of art express the concerted as well as intuitive effort of reading oneself in the world, exploring acts of self-construction at various stages of cognition and through varied contextual inclinations. While the show is on view at the gallery, where we’re undertaking strict health, sanitization and social distancing measures to ensure the safety of our visitors, we’re happy to be able to make engaging with the show a virtual possibility as well. To do so, we’re embracing a new immersive 3D digital technology experience via Matterport on our website, which offers a multi-dimensional mapping of the show.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
DIPTI ANAND is a writer, editor and curator. She has an interdisciplinary master’s of arts degree in the humanities and social thought with concentrations in philosophy, literature and literary theory from the Center of Experimental Humanities at New York University; a bachelor’s of science degree in business from Babson College, with concentrations in entrepreneurship and the literary and visual arts; and a certificate in creative writing from Exeter College, University of Oxford, among other literary endeavors. In addition to her comprehensive role at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, she works as an independent book editor and writes poetry, fiction and essays on art, literature, culture and philosophy, and has recently finished her first novel. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, the Aerogram, TXTOBJX, Enormous Eye and is forthcoming in Scroll and an anthology.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Born in 1962 in Colombo, Sri Lankan artist ANOLI PERERA completed a BA in political science, sociology and economics at the University of Colombo, and a postgraduate diploma in international affairs at the Bandaranaike Center for International Studies in Sri Lanka. She has participated in several exhibitions, including Shrine Empire Gallery, New Delhi; Colomboscope; the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colombo; Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai (2018); Bikaner House, New Delhi (2018); Kochi–Muziris Biennale; and Aicon Gallery, New York, among others. The artist lives and works in Colombo.
Born in 1987 in West Bengal, SHRIMANTI SAHA completed a BVA in painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, 2009, and an MVA in painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Baroda 2011. She also received the Inlaks Fine Arts Award in 2015 and was a runner-up for the Glenfiddich Emerging Artist Award in 2014. She has been part of group shows at Nature Morte, Gurgaon; Gallerie 88, Kolkata; Barter Collection, Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai; Baroda Redux, Art Konsult, New Delhi; Residency Show, Kalakriti Gallery, Hyderabad, among others. The artist lives and works in Baroda.
Born in 1963, RUBY CHISHTI is a Pakistani-American artist who studied at the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan. Her installations, sculptures, and sitespecific works have been exhibited at the Asia Society Museum, NY; Queens Museum, NY; rossi & rossi Hong Kong; Aicon Gallery (London & New York); Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, India; the National Gallery Islamabad, Pakistan; Arco Madrid; Art Hong Kong; and The Armory Show NYC to name a few. The artist lives and works in New York City.
Born in 1993, BIRAAJ DODIYA received her MFA from New York University in 2018, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. Her selected exhibitions include Stone is a Forehead, Experimenter, Kolkata; Burn Your Finger, and Kiss it Yourself, 80WSE, New York; and Send Your Location, 33 Orchard, New York. Dodiya is the recipient of the 2021 Civitella Ranieri Visual Arts Fellowship, the 2018 Jack Goodman Scholarship in Art and Technology, and was nominated for the 2018 Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
Born in 1977, RAKHI PESWANI completed a BFA in painting and an MFA in ceramic sculpture, both from the M.S. University of Baroda. Peswani presently serves as visiting faculty at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. She was recently the artist-in-residence at the Aomori Contemporary Arts Centre, Japan, in 2017. In 2007, she won the emerging artist award granted by the Foundation of Indian Contemporary Art, preceded by the Inlaks Scholarship for the UNIDEE in residence at Fondazione Pistoletta, Italy. The artist lives and works in Bangalore. Born in 1973, FAIZA BUTT trained at the NCA in Lahore and the Slade School of Art in London. Her work has been shown in various museums and included in several publications. She has had various solo shows, including the Attenborough Art Centre, UK; Rossi & Rossi, London; Canvas Gallery, Karachi; and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, among others. She has also participated in various group shows, including Art Dubai; SOAS, University of London, and the Venice Biennale, to name a few. The artist lives and works in London, UK.
Born in 1987, HIMALI SINGH SOIN is a writer and artist, who completed a BA in theatre and English from Middlebury College, USA, an MFA in fine art at Goldsmiths, University of London, and an MA in English Literature at the Bread Loaf School of English, USA, among other art and writing workshops. Her recent exhibitions include the Shanghai Biennale (2020); Mimosa House, London (2020); Columbia University (2020); Museo Thyssen, Madrid (2020); State-Studio, Berlin (2020); and Dhaka Art Summit (2020), to name a few. The artist lives and works between London and New Delhi.
Born in 1975 in Bangalore, BAKULA NAYAK completed an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master’s of science in communication design from the Pratt Institute, New York. Her recent exhibitions include solo shows at India International Centre, New Delhi (2018); Kessaku, Bangalore (2018); Taj Palace, Delhi (2018), as well as several group exhibitions, including Gallery Space, Hyderabad (2017, 2016); India Habitat Centre, New Delhi (2017); Gallerie Nyva, New Delhi (2017); Saptaparni, Hyderabad (2017); Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2016), among others. The artist lives and works in Pittsburgh, USA, with strong ties to Bangalore, India.
Born in 1976 in Bombay and brought up in Geneva, APNAVI MAKANJI body of work spans the mediums of drawing, installation and video. Most recently, Makanji participated in the Dhaka Art Summit in February 2020. They have had several solo exhibitions, including Tarq, Mumbai; Galerie Felix Fachon, Brussels; Matthieu Foss Gallery, Mumbai; Art Asia Miami; The Guild NY; and Chatterjee and Lal / Jehangir Nicholson Gallery NCPA, Mumbai. They have also participated in several group shows, including Vadehra Art Gallery; W113, New Delhi; Envoy Enterprises, New York; and Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, among others. The artist lives and works in Geneva.