Online Magazine
Artist Profile3
Jitish Kallat’s ‘Public Notice-2’ in spotlight
Jitish Kallat, one of the most prominent artists of his generation, has been in spotlight for the innovative body of work he has produced. The last couple of years have been indeed eventful for him. The sprawling gallery space of Arario Beijing hosted an ambitious solo show ‘365 Lives’ by him on a massive scale in 2007.

At the start of the year 2008, Chemould Prescott Road and Bodhi Art presented his landmark solo ‘Sweatopia’ that brought together his specific works not shown locally, interweaving them with new works, throwing up a barrage of inter-related themes and reflecting on his core concerns of his work, which as a curatorial note pointed out, 'oscillates between the twin codes of pop and agitprop, addresses the classic themes of survival and the endless narratives of human struggle. The city of Mumbai, wherein the enterprise of daily existence is pushed to the extreme, acts as his artistic catalyst and continually percolates his practice.’

In March 2008, the group show ‘Passage to India’ at Initial Access in the UK showcased his work courtesy Frank Cohen Collection presented alongside many prominent artists from India. His new body of work 'Universal Recipient' was hosted at Haunch of Venison in Zurich in mid-2008.

The talented artist is in spotlight again after Bodhi Art recently acquired his ‘Public Notice-2’ to Savara Foundation for the Arts, at an undisclosed price. The art foundation is a premier collection of Pre-Modern and Modern Indian Art in London and New Delhi.

His art practice combines painting, collage, photography as well as multimedia installation and sculpture making. His creations reflect a deep involvement with city of his birth Mumbai. He draws his visual language and inspiration from the immediate urban milieu - 'the recycled, patched-together fabric of urban India'. His wider concerns comprise the nation's effort to negotiate its entry into a globalized economy, the acute housing crisis, caste and communal tensions and government accountability, or rather lack of it.

Jitish Kallat, a leading contemporary artist from India, has showcased his extensively in India and internationally. He has achieved worldwide fame and acclaim as one of the country’s leading contemporary artists. The logistically challenging ‘Public Notice-2’ can be termed an artistic feat - of great historical import within India. The Installation Work was presented by Bodhi Art in conjunction with the 2008 Singapore Biennale. The earlier edition of this monumental work was displayed at the Hangar Bicocca, a renowned contemporary art museum in Milan, which hosted the ambitious exhibition, entitled ‘Urban Manners: Contemporary Artists from India’ in 2007-2008.

World-famous collector Charles Saatchi bought the work, which will be exhibited in the blockbuster show ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ at the just renovated Saatchi Gallery, in London. It is a magnum opus for Jitish Kallat, and can be counted among the most ambitious works done by him both, in terms of scale and concept.

In ‘Public Notice-2’, Jitish Kallat quotes the speech, delivered on the banks of the River Sabarmati by the great freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi on the historic day of March 11, 1930 on the eve of the course-changing Dandi March, famously known as the Salt March. The Mahatma took the 400 km, 26 day long journey to protest the then British Salt Act. The speech was later accredited including by Mahatma Gandhi himself as his final public address.

The bones, reminiscent of fossils spell out each word of this speech, suggest the irrelevance of history once a populace has moved on. The entire speech is constructed out of 4,479 fiberglass fabrications of bones that are shaped like alphabets, placed on rows of shelves. In viewing this creation, the viewer is reminded of the legacy that we often take for granted and of the major sacrifices we no longer care to remember, even those that continue to impact our lives.

The artist explains: “In today’s terror-infected scenario, wars against terror are fought at prime television time. Now, voices such as Gandhi’s stare back at us like discarded relics. Each alphabet in this speech, like a misplaced relic, will hold up the image of violence in clinical clarity even as their collective chorus makes a plea for peace.”

Rajiv Savara, a Fellow Chartered Accountant, and his wife Roohi Savara, a lawyer by profession, embarked upon an ambitious artistic sojourn in the mid-1990's that has turned into a major collection of Indian Pre-Modern and Modern Art and Japanese Meiji Art. The foundation’s approach, a unique blend of passion, erudition and insight defines the methodology of Roohi and Rajiv Savara.

Their admiration for the wonderful works of legendary artist Raja Ravi Verma, the Tagore's and also the early period works of the Progressives promoted them to collect art and undertake a wide array of acquisitions. Their devotion and commitment to a specific vision of art history collecting quality art continues to drive them. Their methodology is based on their belief that modern culture is defined by the achievements of only a few great artists and their path breaking works.

Roohi and Rajiv Savara and his brother Rahul Savara launched the no-profit foundation for the Arts, which has been the primary sponsor of the eclectic exhibition ‘Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose (1882 - 1966)’, an unprecedented collaboration between the San Diego Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Government of India. They have also loaned historic works from their extraordinary art collection to the prestigious American museums. With galleries in New York, Singapore, Berlin and Mumbai, Bodhi Art is committed to the development, exposure and practice of Indian Contemporary Art. Launched in 2004, it has played a significant role in the development of international market for Indian Contemporary Art. BodhiArt closely works with prominent collectors like the Savaras, committed to building a legacy for the works in their possession.