TARQ, a relatively new Mumbai contemporary art gallery, recently exhibited for the first time in London as part of Camden Kala (an annual arts programme). The idea of the exhibition This Burning Land Belongs To You was to show works that both a UK and Indian audience could relate to and hence, the initiative to promote three young artists: Soghra Khurasani, Rithika Merchant and Ronny Sen. Their styles may be different (printmaking, painting and photography respectively) but they came together to demonstrate global commonalities of issues related to migration and the environment.
I spoke to Gallery Director Hena Kapadia to get a deeper understanding of the exhibition…
What drives the three artists to produce the work that they do?
All three artists being showcased in this exhibition extensively draw upon their environment and lived experiences for their subject matter. Their distinct styles allow for a creative and sensitive exploration of ideas of space, environment and conflicts that grow around them.
With their distinct styles, the artists’ lives and individual practices are reflected in the works that are a part of this show. The three bodies of work explore different facets of the changing times in which we live. Ronny’s photographs investigate the issue of environmental degradation that has made life unliveable in some parts of the world. Soghra looks at the changing realities for minorities in the place of their birth, while Rithika’s paintings contemplate the journey of migration, putting forward the question – can moving from one place to the other save us?
How successful has the London collaboration been for TARQ and does the gallery envisage conducting more such joint shows in the future?
This exhibition – TARQ’s first international one – is an exciting step forward. It is has been thrilling and insightful to have a wider audience respond to the works of contemporary Indian artists. We’re definitely looking forward to more cross-cultural collaborations in the future.
By Diane Bilimoria, London