Of Memories and Might

  • Curator:

    Tanya Abraham

  • Location:

    Kashi Art Gallery, Burger Street, Fort Kochi

  • Date:

    13th December to March 30th 2019


This project has been deliberately chosen to highlight the thoughts and experiences of people in society. Choosing women artists was purposeful but not specifically gender concerned. Instead, it is one that proves as a platform for the many unable to allow the expression of minds and bodies. Fearless expression creates change - both politically and socially.Whether this change is deliberate or organic is not the concern, it does not even matter. But it is the freedom to chose and chose to live, in a way that suits the individual, without broken memories or social hurdles being an impediment.

As always, I also aim to show how art is a magnificent tool of expression.It enables the unearthing of layers of emotions and thoughts hidden deep within the human mind.Art tells what others can’t, in a simple yet profound manner that cuts through blood and marrow. It signifies the ability to speak a thousand stories, silently. It evokes in the human, a profound yet poignant sense of being that otherwise calls for persistent propositions of the unknown.

Symphony of Feminine Energy

  • Artist:

    Catherine Stoll-Simon

  • Info:

    Born in Paris,Lives and works in Gard, South of France
    Canvas, Acrylic paint and Ink
    18 pieces 0.70mx0.70m, 2 pieces 1.30mx0.60m

My idea for this work came from the observations of women’s struggles for equality and equal rights.This has been an issue I was always concerned with, a few years ago I wrote an essay about Isabelle Eberhardt, a swiss explorer and author, who choose her own destiny – a very rare and brave move - by leaving her home in Europe in the 19th century to discover an unconventional life in North Africa.

This bold move, and the struggles associated with women and the many images that emerge from situations across the world, (reports about women as victims of violence of various kinds) made me want project a positive view of women, beyond what we hear. That’s how mythic women, and particularly the prehistoric sacred goddess Venus became an influencing subject for this work.

For me, these Great Mothers (such as the sacred Venus) were the guardians of cosmic and primary energy, guardians of strengths and fertility. They were also guardians of land and sea, guardians of the vital life-giving force. In this work, I wanted to represent these Goddesses, which symbolize the Feminine, in its deepest essence. I also wanted to paint their kingdoms, free spaces - land and the seas.To paint Venus is to honour this great and mysterious power of the Feminine that gives life to everything. Present in both men and women, the Feminine is the living Source of Energy.

All traditions celebrated them : in Hinduism, it is Shakti , also known as Parvati, Durga, and Kali ; she is an archetype who one might call upon for strength, fertility, and power. She is also Cybele, Mother of Gods, for the Greeks and the Romans. She is Demeter, Persephone or the Greek Gaïa, the many faces of the Great Goddess.So also the Virgin Mary also a form of the Sacred Feminine.

For me, this power of the Feminine is associated to land and the sea. So, I represented the powerful energies of these elements of Nature : in the first room, energy of constantly moving earth, in the second one, energy of constantly moving seas.

Because energy, by definition, is permanent change, I painted a process and I composed a sort of symphony, in its movements and colors. The first movement, made of ten works, is a variations on the theme of brown, on the theme of earth.Earth is energy.

The second movement, made of eight works, is variations on the theme of blue, on the theme of water and the seas. Water is energy. Vegetal fleece, seaweeds emerging from rocks, evokes the emergence of the world.

These flows are in slow or quick movements.At first glance they may appear fairly similar, but in truth are different. It invites us to take part in a sort of progressive reading, one work after another.

For this work, I created a personal and very specific technique, which is linked to the theme of Energy; the works have been immersed over several days in a bath of materials on a plastic sheet, creating a print (in a natural flow) made of plastic pleats.To involve the phenomenon of “the creative accident” was for me important, to allow the natural flow of Energy, to allow it to speak with me as the artist in partial control.



The Body Dialogues 2018

  • Artist:

    Lakshmi Madhavan

  • Info:

    Born in Kerala, India Lives and works in Mumbai, India
    Human body, reflection of human body, mirror, wood, audio
    Dimensions Variable

The work alludes to a systemic deconstruction of the body, to examine and question what we understand of our own body – who we are and how we come to see ourselves. It is a working out of the self before the world, identities in repose and a challenge to hegemonic schemes of observing, reporting and knowing.The introspection follows the process of transformation of the body into a constructed idea of self, probing notions of identity creation, identity articulation and identity reinforcement.

The work uses the indefinite pronouns, every-body, some-body, any-body, no-body, dissected at the word body to decipher the meanings that emerge. Grammatically they are employed when referencing no specific person. This regime in language is contrasted against the words, fragmented and hyphenated at “body”, to understand the seminal assessment constituting the possession of a body against the contemporary backdrop of gender, culture, religion, borders.

The above words and their refractions pivot the body as a point of departure as well as return, to unbind, unravel and dismantle the word “body”. The body will be deliberated in its paradoxical oscillation between subject and object, composition and context, inside and outside, terrestrial and celestial.The attempt is to use the body to look inwards to understand what it means to inhabit one’s own body

Lost and Found

  • Artist:

    Parvathi Nayar

  • Info:

    Born in New Delhi, India Lives and works in Chennai, India

  • Installation of drawn panels and video
    Drawn panels - Handdrawn graphite and mixed media on six wooden panels
    Each panel 72 x 24 x 2 inches
    Video:/lost/ /and/ /faund/
    Sound:Alapana by Vidushi Sangeetha Sivakumar, Raga - Kurinji
    Camera:Parvathi Nayar Editing:Jai
    Duration 4 minutes 9 seconds

Inter/links between woman and nature, and the power that can be drawn from such associations, go back to the dawn of our species. ‘Lost and Found’ talks of such relationships, severed but with hopes of reclamation, and recasts them in a contemporary world.

These possibilities assume urgency in the light of the natural calamities we face in the age of the Anthropocene; an immediate focus being the recent Kerala floods. (During this disaster, the work of the woman’s community network, Kudumbashree (which has nearly 4.5million members) was inspirational.They were present as part of the restoration work in every aspect, from cleaning up to contributing from their own hard-earned savings to raise money for those hard-hit, the figure was reported as being over Rs5crores at the end of August 2018.)

The necessities of female empowerment in the material world and of reattunement to the proverbial inner goddess are not mutually exclusive propositions. Such queries into feminist identities and its relocations are raised through a conceptual and visual intervention into Devakoottu, the only form of Theyyam that is performed by women, on the island of Thekkambad in Kannur, North Malabar.

The original Devakoottu story is a simple one, about a group of celestial women who descended to the lush gardens on Thekkambad island, in search of the lustrous flowers found there. As they wandered among the trees and blooms, one of the celestial visitors got lost, and her companions had to leave without her. Happily, she did eventually find her way back home.

In the contemporary retelling of the Devakoottu tale of being “lost and found”in and through Nature, there is a deconstruction of the myth into components that come together as multiple narratives.

Theyyam is ritualistic worship, which in a contemporary setting is also recognised as performative. At the core of many Theyyam forms is a celebration of female power, latent, visceral, primal. ‘Lost and Found’ plays with many aspects of the Theyyam performance but subverts it to ask questions of identity, roles and relationships.

The scene of the action - through drawn image, video and sound - evokes both the kavu (sacred grove) and the tharavadu (traditional Nayar houses); life-giving rains and life-threatening floods;the loss and reclamation of feminine power.

In visual play, but subtly subverted, are the traditional colours of Theyyam – black, yellow, red, white; the adornment of the headgear (mudi) and face-painting that converts ordinary woman into ritualistic performer; and the flowers and trees associated with the groves in which Theyyam was traditionally performed – the frangipani, coconut, jackfruit, chethi. There is reference too, to the matrilineal Nayar tharavadus, which were traditionally deeply connected with the presentation

Red Crown, Green Parrot

  • Artist:

    Meydad Eliyahu & Thoufeek Zakriya

  • Curator:

    Tanya Abraham

  • Location:

    Jew Town, Mattancherry

Red Crown, Green Parrot is a public art project, a continuation of the curatorial project “Box of Documents”, which was exhibited at the last Kochi-Muziris Biennale.The project now moves from within the confines of the gallery to Jew Town, at specific public sites, that recall memories of a fading Jewish heritage in Kochi. Artists Meydad Eliyahu and Thoufeek Zakriya are concerned not only with contemporary art, which helps in the expression of history, but also art in the written form-as calligraphy- in Hebrew, Malayalam and English. It ties together a strong past of a community whose skeletal bits remain. It aims to evoke in people the power of art and heritage, and how it continues to be unconsciously and inextricably woven into our lives, even in the current day.

Site maps available at Kashi Art Cafe and Old Harbour Hotel

Shubha Taparia

  • Artist:

    Shubha Taparia

  • Info:

    Born in Ahmedabad, IndiaLives and works in London

  • Performance:

    “Performance”, 2018. Single Channel Digital Video of Kodak 16mm Vision3 Film.
    11min 36sec
    Mother Mary, 2018.Lenticular Print.60.5 x 37.5 cm
    Statue of Science, 2018.Lenticular Print.60.5 x 37.5 cm
    Mannequin, 2018.Lenticular Print.60.5 x 37.5 cm

  • Shubha Biography :

    Shubha Taparia has been living and working in London since 2001. She studied at Bal Wad Studios in Pune, India and completed her Post Graduation in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London, 2007.

    Her most recent exhibition include: Point of Apoapsis, London (2017), Silence and Landscape,Kochi, Averard Hotel with Slate Projects, London (2016); selected for Film Screenings at Washington Artworks, Maryland, USA (2016); solo show See in Your Mind’s Eye at Kashi Art Gallery in Kochi, India (2015). She was a finalist for The Creekside Open 2013 selected by Paul Noble and hosted by APT Galleries, London, UK (2013); Arte Laguna, Venice, Italy (2013); as well as finalist for the Mostyn Open at Mostyn Galleries, Llandudno, UK (2011) and Celeste Prize, Berlin, Germany (2009). Her works are in various private and institutional collections in the UK, Italy, Portugal, India and Canada.

This mixed-media installation explores the tension between neglect and regeneration and the fallen status of once revered icons. Taparia takes three abandoned statues as her inspiration for the work, which features a video piece, lenticular prints and props from a performance, presented in the abandoned Averard Hotel in London (2018).

The three figures depicted were found to have lost the full force of their symbolic value, having been forgotten by those who once revered them.The first, a figurine of the Virgin Mary with child, was left abandoned and wired to a wall of brickwork in an unbroken covering in Fort Kochi, India. Discarded in the garden of a bungalow sold by the owners after inhabiting it for 40 years, this figurine was forgotten during their move. The second figure, a classical allegory of the sciences in splendid robes was discovered on New Bond Street, London, overshadowed by the clutter of urban development and encased by scaffolding on a precarious façade. The third, a rigid shop mannequin, was left bound with rope and without a garment to model, consigned to storage outside the chic retail area of Mayfair.

The performance, which sought to return life to these lost figures, used female street performers known as 'living statues' to embody them.The video piece which documents the performance, was recorded on 16mm film stock in the decaying ballroom of the grade II listed Averard Hotel.The use of analogue film echoes the sense of poignancy and nostalgia, which pervaded the performance and figures. The accompanying soundtrack mirrors the sites where the sculptural pieces were found by using field recordings from perpetually redeveloped urban centers such as Manhattan in New York and Mayfair in London. As well as combining sounds from rural settings whose significance has shifted with the passage of history, such as the Land's End, in Cornwall, the Duomo in Milan, Nikiti in Greece and the Buddhist caves at Ajanta in India. Alongside the video piece are three lenticular prints and props from the performance. Lenticular printing is a technique that brings movement to images allowing the viewer to manipulate the passage of time with their shifting gaze. Whilst the props act as artifacts from the transient performance, and resonate deeply with the original figurines that inspired the work, which are themselves remnants of a time now past.

Throughout this installation Taparia attends to the disregarded and shows that remains may be charged with an unsettling beauty and forgotten strength. Whilst they are neglected these figures are not lost as the artist's process enlivens them. As within her other compilations of 'the everyday,' Taparia re-presents neglected elements as tokens of the immutable passage of time and the shifting meanings of cultural objects.

The circle

  • Artist:

    Sophie Medawar

  • Info:

    My name reflects my personality.
    Sophie for my West, Luxembourg and supposed wisdom;
    Medawar, "the circle", for Lebanon, my Roots.
    My Art reflects my personality.
    It bridges my Cultures, East and West.

My topic of predilection is the Taboos that we all carry, through our culture, our education our religion or just because of some hidden rules we set ourselves.

The female body is omnipresent in my work,
in the image that it projects -whether intentionally or not.
Female object, female subject...
I observe women in their relations with their environment,
family, religion, maternity, art,
work, self-image,
and the impact of our consumer society as well as the
the repercussions of the dictates of fashion…

My oeuvre is realised in a diverse and often unconventional range of media, including installation, sculpture, video, photography and works on paper

My installations integrate the public in a full manner, I let them participate in the life of the art piece and determine it’s future.

Each person is free to interpret in the light of who they are and where they stand

Purplexed

  • Artist:

    Indu Antony

  • Info:

    Born in Dubai, United Arab Emirates Lives and works between Kochi and Bangalore

  • Purplexed :

    Mattress Memories, 2018 - 6 feet x 3 feet Wooden cot, Cotton cloth, Artists’ hair
    They, 2018 - Archival print
    Nine wooden boxes, 2018, 8.27 × 11.69 inch Archival prints, Artists’ hair, Nails
    Wooden block, Granite
    Video - 2017, 5:31 minutes
    Purplexed is about relationships.
    Purplexed is about the transient nature of emotions in them.

The artist seeks to find an expression for the unspoken meanings that is quietly nurtured in relationships without the nuances of gender seeping in. Like the fleeting glimpse of oneself in the other, an aching desire for permanency however futile or a convulsion of ecstasy laced with pain. It is a place in mind and memory where people collide with each other to consciously escape into emotional spheres. The work embodies memories, of fierce encounters mapped against longings and moral compasses and interpret them into visual and textual matter