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A recap of contemporary Indian art shows: Flashback 2010
India’s fast flourishing contemporary art scene coupled with the recent economic upheavals have prompted critical questions related to culture and social structure in a nation caught between a dependence on global developments and an independent mindset. Against this backdrop, several talented Indian artists are coming up with work that responds to the present complexities and realities. A series of both solo and group shows this year have brought them into international spotlight. Here is a quick recap:

‘The Empire Strikes Back’
The grand show courtesy Saatchi Gallery (January- May) offered a striking and intriguing interpretation of new India through works by both emerging and established artists like Atul Dodiya, Chitra Ganesh, Probir Gupta, Rashid Rana, TV Santhosh, Subodh Gupta, Tushar Joag, Jitish Kallat, Reena Saini Kallat, Bharti Kher, Rajan Krishnan, Kriti Arora, Justin Ponmany, Schandra Singh, Hema Upadhyay, and Pushpamala among others.

‘Where Three Dreams Cross’ and ‘The Self & the Other’
A group show ‘The Self & the Other: Portraiture in Contemporary Indian photography’ (October 2009- March 2010) focused on the photographer’s gaze. Curated by Devika Daulet-Singh and Luisa Ortínez at North Gallery courtesy ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz) and Palau de la Virreina (Barcelona), it gave an intimate view of contemporary life in India through the lens of 16 renowned photographers. Another significant show at London's Whitechapel Art Gallery (January- April 2010) offered an insightful view of modern India along with Pakistan and Bangladesh through the lens of artist-photographers like Rashid Rana, Dayanita Singh, Raghubir Singh, Pushpamala N., and Rashid Talukder among others. Over 400 works were drawn for ‘Where Three Dreams Cross’ from important collections and images by leading contemporary artists.

‘Bring me a Lion’, ‘A Wild Gander’ ‘Have I Ever Opposed You?’, and ‘In Transition’
‘Bring me a Lion’ at Cecille R. Hunt Gallery (St.Louis, USA) featured Dhruvi Acharya, Chitra Ganesh, Tushar Joag, Jaishri Abichandani, Bari Kumar, Jitish Kallat and Reena Saini Kallat. The idea was to map the contours of the recent art practice of India to underline the theme. ‘A Wild Gander’ at Brooklyn’s BRIC Rotunda Gallery courtesy the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) featured Jesal Kapadia, Yamini Nayar, Divya Mehra, Mala Iqbal and Chitra Ganesh. They all reflected on the complex issues, which frame South Asian identity, based in a gamut of social-personal spheres - gender, media representations, or politics. Geneva based Faye Fleming & Partner hosted talented emerging artists from India and Pakistan, entitled ‘Have I Ever Opposed You?’ (March– May). On the other hand, ‘In Transition: New Art from India’ (May- June) at Richmond Art Gallery in Canada featured TV Santhosh, Sudarshan Shetty, Shilpa Gupta, Thukral & Tagra, Reena Kallat, and Hema Upadhyay.

'Burning Flags', ‘Holy Smoke’ and ‘Public Notice 3’
TV Santhosh’s 'Burning Flags' (May- June) at Aicon Gallery in London was a suite of paintings in the burning green, yellow, red, and orange hues, also incorporating a close-up of a figure gazing at the viewer. Ebenezer Sunder Singh’s ‘Holy Smoke’ (May- July) at RL Fine Arts, New York included a group of portraits of famous creative ‘artists’, pictured with their personal accessory, a cigarette. Art lovers in France had an opportunity to discover Rashid Rana’s remarkable talent with some of his most exciting works that formed part of his series ‘Perpetual Paradox’ (July– November) on display at Musée Guimet, a leading museum in Paris.

Art Basel 2010
It was a celebration time for contemporary Indian art at Art Basel 41 in June that featured five leading galleries from the country, namely Chemould Prescott Road, Chatterjee & Lal, Sakshi, Nature Morte, and Gallery SKE. They presented some of the best works, reflecting the current trends, to a global audience. Chemould’s curated booth had two artists from different generations: Bhupen Khakhar and Atul Dodiya. Gallery SKE presented ‘Zero Knot’, an installation and publication by Sreshta Premnath. Chatterjee & Lal showcased Nikhil Chopra, known for his performance-based practice. Nature Morte displayed works by Suhasini Kejriwal, Schandra Singh, Thukral & Tagra, Gauri Gill, Atul Dodiya, Aditya Pande, and TV Santhosh.

Indian Highway’ and ‘Indian (Sub)Way’
Indian Highway’ (September- October) at the Reykjavík Art Museum in Iceland traced the impact of early technology stretching to the information superhighway. It also involved reflections on significance of the road for migration, movement, and development. ‘Indian (Sub)Way’ (September- October) at London based Grosvenor Vadehra, dealt with the various facets of challenging day-to-day existence in the country marked by opulence as well as its seamier underside that defines the edgy, subterranean its theme.

Solos by Jitish Kallat, Subodh Gupta and Anju Dodiya
Paris based Galerie Daniel Templon hosted the first ever show of works in France by Anju Dodiya. ‘Face-off’ (September– October) was a series in watercolor and charcoal on paper. Hauser & Wirth hosted a monumental new sculptures and the ‘Cosmos’ paintings by Subodh Gupta in its new Zurich space (September– November). Jitish Kallat’s ‘Astronomy of the Subway’ (February- March) was hosted at London based Haunch of Venision gallery. The solo encompassed seven rooms of this world-renowned art space. In his first ever major presentation in an American museum, the artist has designed a site-specific installation that connects the First World Parliament of Religions held on September 11, 1893, and the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on that very date, exactly 108 years later. ‘Public Notice 3’ (September 2010–May 2011) at The Art Institute of Chicago is a trenchant commentary on the evolution, or devolution, of religious tolerance across the 20th and 21st centuries.

Other significant shows
As 2010, a noteworthy year for Indian art, drew to a close, international galleries continued to feature prominent artists from the country. New York based e-flux presented an installation by Raqs Media Collective that combines historical photographs (from the Alkazi Collection, New Delhi and the Galton Collection at University College, London). At Chicago’s Walsh Gallery, artists Vivan Sundaram, Reena Kallat, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, and Sheba Chhachhi explored the way art and water Intersect. A major retrospective exhibition of photographic works by Dayanita Singh was hosted at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam. RL Fine Arts, New York presented works by legendary artist SH Raza.