Friday, September 16, 2011

Right to Dissent exhibition in Pune

Right to Dissent Pune Exhibition 16-18 September 2011 Free and Open to All 'Fight State Terror in the North East' Graffiti showing the political dissident Irom Sharmila Litter bin, Marine Drive, Bombay, 2011. Photo Zasha Colah Artists: Sachin Bonde, Vinod Chavan, Deepali Patkar, Nikhil Raunak, Pooja Panchal, Prabhakar Pachpute, Rupali Patil, Swapnil Kshirsagar Curators: Sumesh Sharma and Tushar Joag Assistant Curator: Nikhil Raunak A Clark House Initiative The movement for the release of Dr. Binayak Sen a political prisoner in Tihar jail, turned into a movement for the repeal of the sedition laws current in India. Justice on Trial was held in the Romain Rolland Gallerie of the Alliance Francaise in Delhi. The artist Tushar Joag sent a call to artists for an exhibition with the Clark House Initiative called Right to Dissent. Carrying forward the response of previous artists, this new exhibition, Right to Dissent Pune travels through educational venues and the Lokayat Hall in Pune. Emerging artists from Pune, Nasik, Bombay and Baroda, join together to reflect on the issues surrounding the incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen, and to assert their right to dissent in democratic India. The newly commissioned art works take the format of a print portfolio and installations. Links: A Note on the Exhibition by Sumesh Sharma Published in Dissent is a commissioned portfolio of prints curated by Sumesh Sharma, discussing the political history of the use of printmaking by students of the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay. Sachin Bonde | The Spanish brought to extinction numerous tribes in Central and South America, for their want of gold. In the scramble for Africa, the Belgian colonial government under King Leopold severed the hands of all those who were a hindrance to the search for diamonds. The war fought in Iraq in the name of democracy stinks of oil politics that determine the price of energy. Depicting the stuffed busts of reindeer alongside the world map, Sachin, discusses the scramble for resources by developed nations and growing economies such as India and China, in numerous nations of the developing world. He draws comparisons with the colonial sport of hunting enjoyed by the rulers and their agents of rule - titular princes, in the case of India. By installing kleptocratic dictatorships that further their cause, or in the guise of world trade and investment, world super-powers continue their colonialist expansion. In the case of India, in states like Chattisgarh and Orissa, state governments act as agents of large mining corporations, extinguishing dissent with brutal force. The loss of traditional ancestral lands of tribes to mining corporations such as the Dongria Kondh tribals of Orissa is part of the ongoing genocide of India’s indigenous people. Vinod Chavan | Aesop’s fable of the stork who takes revenge on the fox by serving him dinner in a vase, as the stork had been unable to eat when invited by the fox who served the stork in a plate, takes centre stage in this print. Metaphors and images that symbolise power in Indian society, are used to discuss a crippled and corrupt democratic system. He who occupies the chair, wields the power. In this work, the 500 Rupee note discusses the use of money to influence votes. The zeal of politicians to occupy the chair comes from the wish to give themselves the keys to benefit from the state’s resources. The shift in symbols of power from Nehru’s red rose, that signified a pacifist nation aligned to a neutral developing world, to that of a horse’s head, illustrating the trade in votes in our parliament, show the shift in ideas, from one kind of internationalism to an inward looking nation scrambling for resources. Deepali Patkar | Dr. Binayak Sen’s photograph depicting him unshaven behind the grills of a police van, reminds one of the image of Christ bearing the burden of the cross. On a digital print of the photograph, Deepali has etched busts of anonymous corrupt politicians, civil servants and businessmen who conspired together to incarcerate Dr. Sen. Calling out to ‘Save the saviour’ Deepali through the use of grey in her work appeals to us to see the hidden truth unseen behind the the trappings of the law. Nikhil Raunak | To popularise the Cultural Revolution the People’s Liberation Army printed and distributed posters depicting Mao Zedong throughout the length and breath of China, but also to diaspora Chinese communities outside the state. Mao Zedong was to replace existent cultural and religious icons such as Buddha and Confucius. The rapid destruction of China’s cultural heritage through violence and the want to replace it with a new proletariat culture was made possible through popular prints of Mao that could be reproduced easily with speed. The western world came to recognise Mao as an icon after his screen printed portrait in fluorescent colour by Andy Warhol. Nikhil reflects on the same image, and through his print discusses the rise of Maoism, specially in his native state of Bihar, creeping through geographies and populations where the state is seen to have failed. Printmaking as a genre has been most responsive to revolutionary activity and political propaganda and is often used as the clearest tool of communication in such activity. New Installations by artists in conversation with Tushar Joag, reacting to the incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen under the archaic sedition laws of India. Pooja Panchal | Using an acrylic mirror that distorts the shape of the viewer in her work titled Tall Claims, Pooja uses visual satire to rubbish failed promises often seen throughout the political scape of India. These claims originate from the want to satiate genuine concerns of the people but more often come from populist electoral promises to lure in votes. The state fails its citizens on many counts: from its duty to guarantee basic fundamental rights, to larger questions of cultural sovereignty, and equitable growth. The work references the failures of the state which often give rise to conflicts it then suppresses through excesses of violence and torture. Prabhakar Pachpute | Buridan’s Ass, the paradoxical illustration coined by the French philosopher Jean Buridan, describes a donkey as an animal devoid of any free will or rational thought. If a donkey is placed between a pale of water and hay it would choose the one in closer proximity and would die for the lack of the other - either thirst or starvation. Considered a beast of burden, Prabhakar uses the donkey to illustrate the Indian citizen carrying the weight of the archaic justice system, that relies on torture of those who dissent against it. India, though a republic, relies on judicial chicanery to enforce its identity as a state, failing to protect the common citizen. Using the darkened shadow of the goddess of justice, Prabhakar comments on the prevalence of torture by our state agencies in proximity of a blinded judiciary. Rupali Patil | Not far from Pune, in the rural hinterlands of Maharashtra, we hear of farmer suicides as a daily occurrence. Institutional corruption that hinders equitable trade for Indian farmers in an increasingly global market and the removal of subsidies and feudalistic co-operatives and money-lenders who find patronage with politicians, have made agriculture unviable in a nation where ⅔ of its inhabitants subside on agriculture. The deaths caused by aggrieved bankrupt farmers competes with those caused by ethnic violence or terrorism in India. The media remains insensitive to this as terrorism and cricket create greater flutter in revenues. Politicians, who find patronage in money-lenders and feudal-lords who control agricultural co-operatives, chug along with failed electoral promises of agricultural reform. In her video, Rupali, compares the farmer to honey bees that lose the right to their creation - the hive to honey tappers. Images of shop shutters being pulled down, is perhaps a reflection of politicians who wish to silence the discussion of farmer’s suicides. The honeybees are absent, presented only through their irritating buzzing, reflective of the muted resistance that farmers effect through their suicides. Swapnil Kshirsagar | The garrote is an execution device invented by the Spanish and was used by the Spaniards during the Inquisition, the Napoleonic Wars and during the Spanish Civil War to execute freemasons. Its use spread through the Ottoman Empire and to colonies ruled by the Spanish in Latin America and the Philippines. Usually made as a strangulation device with a chair, other versions include the use of a sharpened blade. Swapnil in his installation uses a motorised blade that chops up cucumbers and tomatoes.Perhaps the use of vegetables is a commentary on the stifling inflation faced by Indian citizens. This work may reflect the archaic laws present in India which strangulate, like a garrote, freedom by framing the innocent. Schedule of Parallel Programs: Friday 16 September | 10am-5pm Venue: Allana Institute of Management Sciences, Azam Campus. This institution hosts 30 colleges and schools, where 25000 students study. Directions: Azam Campus: Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society, 2390-B, KB Hidayatullah Road, New Modikhana, Azam Campus, Camp, Pune 411001. T +91-020-26452040 | 26452288 - 10am | Exhibition opens - Film Screening Saturday 17 September | 10am-2pm Venue: Allana Institute of Management Sciences, Azam Campus. - 10am Exhibition opens Visited by Dr. Ilina Sen - 10.30am Felicitation of Dr. Binayak Sen and Dr. Ilina Sen by PA Inamdar, Chairperson of Azam Campus and Neeraj Jain. - 11am Talk by Dr. Binayak Sen - 12 noon Storytelling performance of Dastaan e Sedition by the Delhi-based group Dastaangoi - 1pm Press Conference over lunch - 2pm Exhibition closes Sunday 18 September | 10am-8.30pm Venue: Lokayat Hall: opposite Synidcate Bank, Law College Road, Near Nal Stop, 2 kms from Deccan. - 10am Exhibition opens - 5pm Exhibition closes. Print Portfolio travels to next venue. Venue: Kale Hall, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics - 5.30pm Panel of Speakers: Neeraj Jain, Dr. Ilina Sen, Dr. Binayak Sen - 7.30pm Performance of storytelling Dastan e Sedition For further information about the Art Exhibition please contact: Sumesh Sharma, Clark House Initiative: 09820213816 For further information about the Programs and Venues please contact: Neeraj Jain: 094222 20311 / Landline: 020-25231251

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