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International shows that underline distinct facets of Indian contemporary art
Govett-Brewster based in New Plymouth brings to fore the vitality and dynamism, breadth and depth of new art from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India in its ground-breaking all-gallery show. The gallery houses a permanent collection with a specific focus on art from New Zealand and the Pacific that includes sculpture, conceptual and abstract art.

‘Sub-Topical Heat - New art from South Asia’ is probably among the most in-depth and extensive art projects being hosted in this part of the globe in New Zealand. Comprised of artworks by several renowned names from the Asian sub-continent, it incorporates themes largely driven by the impacts of urbanization and globalization on individual ordinary lives, new trajectories struck within tradition, social and political justice or lack of it, ecological and urban change, myth, gender and curious collective memory.

Artists such as Naeem Mohaiemen, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Bani Abidi, Sheba Chhachhi, independent publisher Raking Leaves, NS Harsha, Imran Qureshi, Sharmila Samant, and Gigi Scaria present vivacious and varied visual languages spanning across mediums like installation, sculpture, video drawing, miniature painting, and photo-media.

The exhibition Curator, Rhana Devenport, also the director of Govett-Brewster Director, emphasizes the group show continues its focus within New Zealand on contemporary Pacific as well as Asian art practice that responds to complex shifts in cultural influence and expression. The venue simultaneously hosts a solo by Bepen Bhana. A designer-writer of Gujarati descent, he is born in Auckland, Aotearoa. His practice looks to examine constructions of Indian identity through the intriguing intersection of Eastern subcultures and Western popular culture.

Here, resplendent with bewildering bindis, the 1970's popular American sitcom family the Brady Bunch has been re-imagined belonging to the artist’s world as a response to concepts of cultural identity in foreign lands. Having completed his graduation with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2009, he has recently conceptualized a series of billboard & lightbox works in Auckland’s public spaces.

Acknowledging the fact that India has made a distinct mark as one of the most innovative and key centers of contemporary art trends, a premier institution in Denmark is devoting its whole special exhibition area to a comprehensive presentation of Indian contemporary art.

The prominent artists as well as artist groups who form part of this significant new exhibit are Rina Banerjee, Sheela Gowda, Shilpa Gupta, Hemali Bhuta, Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher, Reena Isaini Kallat, Rashmi Kaleka, Vivan Sundaram, Ravinder Reddy, and Thukral & Tagra. Elaborating on their artistic philosophy and processes, an accompanying essay elaborates, “With great creativity and intellectual depth a new generation of artists is reacting to the rapid changes typifying the globalized cities of the world’s largest democracy. They lose themselves in the chaos of urban life or seek out a quieter, inner life. They describe the dreams of a new generation and expose social conflicts. With paintings, sculptures, photography, installations and interactive art the exhibition offers unique insight into the aesthetic spectrum within which artists today are interpreting our existence on the borderline between the local and the global.”

The group show is one among the several wide-ranging presentations of the new art of the country with an array of related activities like lecture evenings, a festival program of Indian films at the Copenhagen Festival, and educational processes for children and the young. The project is associated with a research program on contemporary art and migration at ARKEN, which will lead to a conference and a book. Opened in 1996 by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art is a natural progression of Copenhagen’s cultural development. Since its establishment it has worked towards enhancing the quality of all aspects of the socio-cultural landscapes, and is now firmly established among its peers in the national as well as international circle of museums.

Meanwhile, an exhibit of new works by renowned contemporary Indian artist Bharti Kher takes places at the SCAD Museum of Art located in Savannah, USA. Entitled ‘Reveal the secrets that you seek’, it incorporates a selection of her recent body of work, which revolves around themes of male and female energies in flux, nature and man, transformation and alternative realities,.

‘A line through space and time’, a large-scale installation, carries a 17ft long staircase. It’s splashed with red paint and few other elements, running from floor to ceiling. The stairs incidentally confront people with a loaded and powerful re-configuration of what’s now a defunct architectural fragment sourced from an old structure in India. On the other hand, the title work of the important show is comprised of 27 shattered, salvaged mirrors. They envelope and immerse onlookers in their own reflections which, in turn, become a part of her art. Together, these experiential artworks pointedly ask us to consider our oft-neglected relationship to life's everyday (mundane) activities and objects, seeking a re-view of our pre-set ideas of the self - as fleeting, fluid and ever changing.