A group show at Exhibit 320 presents personal narratives of historical events
Nobody fears the paparazzi more than the common man. The old palmist, who sits on the streets of Dhaka, refrains from being clicked. The fear and hesitation in the way he hides his face behind his palms is captured in the Puran Dhaka series by Gazi Nafis Ahmed from Bangladesh. Ahmed sees the world as a place with many social challenges and uses photography to reflect his universe and impact the collective state of mind.
Palmist and many other works of art are on display in the exhibition Delineating Memories: An Artistic Exploration of the Mundane at Exhibit 320. The exhibition showcases artists from India and abroad, who are placed within complex frameworks of time, place, society, history, art and culture, entering into a continuous dialogue to demystify the systems they inhabit.
“This exhibition underlines an almost meditative practice employed by each artist in order to discern the value of personal experiences, visual culture and physical spaces. The artists travel through time, switch roles and perspectives and delineate their discoveries like a map from memory,” says Fiza Jha, the curator of the exhibition. Simrin Mehra Agarwal, who has pursued her education in painting, seeks to critically examine the visual history and transitional phase of royalty from grandeur to decline post Independence, through her work.
“Cross-sections extrapolated from palaces are depicted in my work. Once home to a lavish courtly way of life, they are now abandoned to the relentless wear and tear of time. I have tried to examine different layers of memory and the process of fragmentation and filtration,” says Simrin. The artiste is also interested in hierarchical arrangements both visually and conceptually and in structural analysis of form from conception to degeneration, which is evident in her work, Hierarchy-VIII. Simrin explores the undercurrent of animism ingrained in our culture, beliefs and conventions.
“The women in my work are my ancestors, who were powerful icons in their times and embody the changing face of the bourgeois Indian women. They are not merely aesthetic objects of visual pleasure. It is an indication of a lost history and an attempt to unearth the past. They are precious preserved remains and traces,” she adds.