Vervemagazine.in October 2014

15 artists showing for over three months at Lado Sarai’s new gallery. There’s no way you can miss Zameen, curated by Ranjit Hoskote


Last year, ArtDistrictXIII opened it’s doors in Lado Sarai, and now they have a group show curated by Ranjit Hoskote with some heavy names in order. Gigi Scaria, who gave Verve ‘frame-able’ art (July 2013) is also present among names like Atul Dodiya, Gargi Raina, Baiju Parthan, Ranbir Kaleka and Jagannath Panda. Titled Zameen, Hoskote admits to the initial reference point of Husain’s Zameen and moves on to establish the various ranges of thought leading to a collection of 15 artists in Lado Sarai: starting from “the processes of gentrification and urban expansion” to “the aura of exile and diaspora.”

The artists have articulated their explorations of zameen through diverse media, ranging from woodcut, paintings, digital prints and installations to finding expression in domains like the blog or graphic novel or “the additive memoir into which a sequence of Facebook posts can develop”. “Taken together, I regard these outcomes – whether manifest or latent, exhibitionary or discursive – as travelling territories of thought,” writes Hoskote in his curatorial essay.

What may we expect?
In the curators words (excerpts):

1. Atul Dodiya and Baiju Parthan engage with the ideological and aesthetic resources of the contemporary Indian subjectivity, the varied pasts from which we in the present may derive critical inspiration rather than inflated pride.

2. Jagannath Panda and Gigi Scaria phrase hymns to despoiled environments and their endangered denizens and silenced mythologies; their paintings gesture towards the syndromes of war and expansionism.

3. Lost homelands preoccupy Veer Munshi and Zarina Hashmi; both artists explore mnemonic forms, Munshi through portraiture and Hashmi through cartography and the symbolic image.

4. Ravi Agarwal shares, with Hashmi, a concern with memories of space once inhabited by family, structured by rituals of kinship and inherited ways of being and making, now disrupted by economic and political shifts. Agarwal also shares, withArunkumar H G, a commitment to critiquing and resisting the toxic industrial threat to agriculture and the environment.

5. Land, in Ranbir Kaleka’s account, is the cumulus of the fantasies, stories, dreams and aspirations of those who inhabit or occupy it. Fantasies of belonging also animate Gargi Raina’s work: she explores sensory memories that modulate our sense of self, working beneath the levels of waking consciousness.

6. Elliptical family memoirs also define Ram Rahman’s work, which is charged with his intense experience of the neighbourhoods he has inhabited in New Delhi and New York. In Ashim Purkayastha’s work, the family portrait encodes the circumstances of oppression and terror that have constrained private life and compromised civil liberties in zones such as North-east India, where the mandate of militarisation often overrides democratic guarantees.

7. Praneet Soi’s work, like Ram Rahman’s, articulates the modes by which a transcultural subjectivity anchors itself in multiple locations.

8. Both Vishwajyoti Ghosh and Ryan Lobo record forms of community emerging within a hyperreal present dominated by metropolitan aspirations: their artistic projects capture the thrum of travelling subcultures, the momentum of societies in fast motion.

Zameen is on show until January 31, 2015 at ArtDIstrictXIII (F-213C, Lado Sarai, New Delhi).