Curator Note

The residency is the gallery’s intent of expanding its work concerning the larger experimentation and exploration, in the field of creativity. Of the 110 applications for the programme, the three artists were chosen based on their skills, concepts and techniques of production. For the first time, we did not alott a specific theme as a frame work for the creation of their works, instead a platform was provided to encourage a natural development of ideas that came from the influence of the working environment, their interactions with the local community, and new material influences. The residency saw the expansion and experimentation within their own artistic discourses.

Tanya Abraham


Family

Biswajit Roy was Born in 1984 in West. Bengal.His work involves the use of gouache and printmaking techniques, and deals with the representation of migrants and memories in visual culture. They are layered with historical and social references that he narrates through the use of visual metaphors. Biswajit has participated in several group shows including the 6th Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial, Tokyo, Japan. He is the recipient of the 29th National Exhibition of Contemporary Art" award, South Central Zone Cultural Centre. Nagpur (Ministry of Culture, Government of India)., 2016_ He is currently working as a Lecturer in painting at Sri Venkateshwara College of Fine Arts, Osmania University, Hyderabad

Detritus of a failed Millennium

  • Artist:

    Harikrishna Katragadda

Harikrishna Katragadda is a Mumbai based photographer whose work explores communities, environment and personal memories. He graduated with a Masters degree in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin. After assisting photographers in New York, he moved to New Delhi to start his career as a photojournalist with Mint newspaper. Since 2010 he has been working as an independent photographer working on issues of environment with non-profit organizations like Greenpeace, UNICEF and UNDP. He has published and exhibited internationally and is the recipient of the 2014 Media Foundation for India prize and the National Foundation for India fellowship in 2012. Using long-term documentary approach, he also works with alternative photographic methods to incorporate found materials in images. His work on the pollution in the Ganges using Cyanotypes was awarded the 2018 Invisible Photographer Asia Art award and the India Habitat Centre Photosphere Grant in 2016.
When pollutants are seeping our skins, bodies, landscapes, can photographs retain their distance and act only as a witness? This question propelled me to use the Cyanotype process where contact between pollutants and surface of the photograph is possible.

The Cyanotype is an alternative photographic process invented more than a century and a half ago, where prints are made by exposing photosensitive surface to Ultraviolet light sources. By placing photo negatives or objects on the print surface, images or photograms are made, referencing the earliest days of the photographic medium. Metaphorically speaking, the distinctive Prussian blue colour of Cyanotype prints also has a connection to the rivers and oceans.

Plastic is a ‘hyperobject’ that has infiltrated our landscapes, our rivers and our bodies. It is estimated that at the current rate of dumping plastic into the oceans, there will be more plastic than fish by the year 2050. About 90% of this plastic waste comes from just ten rivers, of which eight are in Asia. I wanted to create narratives about communities and environment by transforming Cyanotype photographs through physical interaction with plastic and site-specific materials found in and along the waterfronts in Fort Kochi. By building the image layer by layer, incorporating pieces of landscape and the detritus and then burning it partially, this project aims to evoke consumerism and the dependence of humans on nature, and the ways in which this relationship imprints the self and the inhabited landscape. Residency experience

I had visited Fort Kochi during the past two editions of Kochi-Muziris Biennale and I loved the city’s multicultural vibe. It is a flaneur’s city, a place to be explored by walking through the lanes and getting lost in its layered history, watching fishermen performing movements ritualized over a thousand years, sipping chai in a dingy hotel in the lanes or peeping into the churches during the mass. It was with a great delight that I accepted the 2019 Kashi Art Gallery Residency where I could stay for a month and have my own studio space.

The thing which bothered me, each time I visited Fort Kochi, was the amount of trash carelessly thrown on the streets, and along the beaches. Fort Kochi beaches are strewn with bottles, slippers, shoes, fishnets, and assorted rubbish, discarded by tourists, fishermen and the city sewage. Plastic has a prominent presence in this trash, a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

I had worked with an early photographic process called Cyanotype on the issue of pollution in the Ganges due to industrial chemicals and urban sewage. The Prussian blue coloured prints of this process naturally connect with water in a metaphorical sense and I was curious if I could use this process to incorporate plastic pollution in Fort Kochi, particularly on the beaches.

Since Cyanotype is a photo-chemical process based on ultraviolet light, I needed to gather chemicals, equipments to work, which was a bit daunting in the beginning, but I could turn around this challenge to discover the city better and make local friends. It took me about ten days to sort out things but soon I had a dream studio to work in.

My work during the residency involved experimenting with various plastic bags of different colours and thickness, to make photograms – a process of exposing the photosensitive paper sandwiched with wet plastic bags in the sunlight. I had also made Cyanotype prints with the contaminated sea water and the weeds found on the beaches. Since this process depends on sunlight, working in July with a cloudy weather was a risky proposition, but luckily this was not an issue this year.

I used a Butane torch to fire the plastic glued to the photograms as a way of mark-making. There was a high probability of failure since this is an entirely new process. But in the end, I got unexpected results and a new way of looking at the plastic pollution. I hope to extend these experiments further in the future, perhaps in another residency.

My deep gratitude to Tanya Abraham for giving me this residency opportunity, to Edgar Pinto for the hospitality and making us feel at home, and lastly to the super efficient and helpful Jude for setting up our studio space and troubleshooting throughout.

Yonder, the escape of a flestering flight.

  • Artist:

    Meghna Patpatia

Meghna Patpatia trained in Painting at Sir. J.J School of Art. Her practice currently involves exploring the concept of changing landscapes with linear ink drawings and mixed mediums. Through detailed drawings and layers with references to traditional art historical practices, she creates an atmosphere within her works that reflect her observations. Her interest lies in visually understanding a change in habitat, landscape and the contrast in our existence with other beings on earth. The drawings are visual explorations of the natural realm and man-made establishment coexisting with one another. The conscious observe the artificial and the growth patterns that emerge from the two synergizing. Natural life forms witness the evolution of landscape and the change in their surroundings every day which they adjust to inherently. The linear forms she explores are creatures/sentient beings that have a luminescent fragility coexisting with the strong mechanical harshness of material that is man-made. The phenomenon of Transverse orientation where all natural beings are drawn to light was the initial inspiration for her to start with, her concepts further journeyed to changing landscapes and more. Exploring the contradiction of it all is what she is attempting to discover in her work.

Meghna has participated in a number of exhibitions and residencies, the most recent exhibition being a group show called Here among the disappearing at Jehangir art gallery, in February, 2019. Her works are a part of the Piramal art collection in Mumbai and Kalakriti art gallery in Hyderabad to name a few. She currently lives and works in Mumbai, India.

“The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things of shoes and ships- and sealing wax-of cabbages and kings.’’ – Lewis Carro

The contradictions of natural forms and manmade influences coexisting are potent with linear qualities that emerge in my painted drawing. Creating morphs caused by the seamless adaptation of nature to an uncertain, almost dystopic environment. The ever-changing nature of myriad forms is represented through the diminishing mountains, landscape, nautilus, nutmeg, creatures and ink bursts along with the escaping machine dominated vehicles. The epoch of change and disappearance is reflected through the moods sensed in the creatures drawn witnessing it all. There is a joy in progress and watching changing landscapes and a sorrow in knowing how irreversible this change is.

My exploration of forms like the nilgiri tahr (varayadu), giant african snails, malabar hornbill among other sentient beings on the edge of a cliff, is an ode to their existence which is now bordering on extinction. The current environment is impermanent and that is even more evident with the information that post the floods that occurred in 2018’s monsoon in Kerala there was an emerging of a new species of dragonflies, fishes and the great African snails multiplied gaining prominence in this terrain. The significance of these changes are felt and adjusted to by all the elements around us as we make room, expanding and contracting, accommodating like the nautilus imagining a balance that is delicate and terrifying both.

My time in Kochi was a surreal and calming experience, dormant emotions surfaced in the quietness of the monsoon here along with a heightened sense of awareness. I was able to immerse myself in the environment and discover the energy and forms around that create the endemic characteristics embedded in this region. The space was transient yet firmly rooted, giving me an abundance of unique corners to discover and further explore my curiosity of coexistence and transcendence.