Part 1: Framing | CheMoulding: Framing Future Archives: Curated by Shaleen Wadhwana | 60 Years of Gallery Chemould

15 September - 22 October 2023
Overview

“CheMoulding creates multiple entry points into six decades of Indian contemporary art. It recognises the art frame ‘moulding’ company that started a gallery that remains a catalyst in moulding Indian art history and its contemporary present. The present continuous suffix ‘ing’ makes Chemould a verb— an act of creating fearless spaces for artistic freedom since 1963. In this 2 part exhibition series,  archives are framed contextually for our future generations, with an invitation to reflect, critique and do better.”

Anant Joshi, Archana Hande, Atul Dodiya, Bhuvanesh Gowda, Desmond Lazaro, Dhruvi Acharya, Gigi Scaria, Jitish Kallat, Madhvi Subrahmanian, Meera Devidayal, Mithu Sen, NS Harsha, Ram Rahman, Ritesh Meshram, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Sheetal Gattani, Tanujaa Rane, Varunika Saraf and Vivan Sundaram
 

“Part 1 - Framing grounds us in the historical context of how we arrived at Emotion, Nurture, Society and Self. The core architectural intervention intersects the current (2007-onwards) Chemould Prescott Road space by placing the old (1963-2007) Gallery Chemould structure within it — this is the central nucleus of the exhibition. Its convex wall showcases the archival research timeline of the Indian art movement through the lens of Bombay and Chemould. This envelopes the concave room which holds the micro-histories of dissent, resilience and long standing revolutions which speak to today’s alarming reality of targeted historical erasure. In contrast we acknowledge the gaps that pervade every archive, where our past selves lay open to an honest re-examination of what-ifs (not what-abouts).

Khorshed and Kekoo Gandhy built the scaffolding within which many (in art) could nurture their homes. This sentiment finds itself through memorialisation of gallery exhibition records and motifs from veteran artists. Physical imprints of frame mouldings and building material from Kekee Manzil are presented to relook at the evolution of family-gallery-artist friendships, traced with everyday childhood memories. As we enter and exit this exhibition, we are reminded of the one thing we all must confront -- Time. 

Taking off from here, Part 2 | Futuring, embraces a forward-looking gaze on aspects of Emotion, Nurture, Society and Self.”

 

About the CheMoulding Archival Timeline:

“Chemould archived its 60 year history through the diligent efforts of Eka Archiving Services and Khorshed Gandhy’s consistent record keeping. This archive contains over 15,000 items ranging from letters, awards, invitation cards, albums, catalogues, press clippings to photographs, CDs, mounted slides, stamps, emails, and telegrams from all over the world.

 

This is a labour of love from the time I delved into the Chemould archives. 

Reflecting on the history of this gallery is akin to reflecting on the history of India, of Bombay, of the Indian art movement, and this timeline is a starting point to navigate this complex journey.”
-Shaleen Wadhwana 


About the Curator:
“This exhibition needed a curator who would envision the project with courage. It needed one to be not a curator alone, but one that had the capacity to research comprehensively through a history archival material and cull out the relevant facets for each of the artists. This task went beyond normative curation - that entailed deep conversations and guidance between curator and artist, material material to artist and being a compass, comrade, and guide. Shaleen has been all of this and more!”- Shireen Gandhy, Gallery Director

Curator Bio : Shaleen Wadhwana is an independent researcher, art curator, and culture professional. Her curatorial practice explores artistic responses to historical and contemporary issues surrounding society and self. This is reflected in FRIN/GE at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi (2021), and OSMOSIS at TARQ, Mumbai(2019). In 2022, she curated The Sindhu Project which explores the Indus Valley Civilisation as a collaboration between artists in India, Pakistan and the USA. She is academically trained in Art History (SOAS, London), Cultural Heritage Law (University of Geneva-UNESCO), Liberal Arts (Young India Fellowship, Ashoka University), Arts Appreciation(National Museum, Delhi), and History (Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University). As a Visiting Faculty at MIT Institute of Design, Pune, she teaches Big History and Design Futures and is the Humanities curriculum designer for their Innovation Programme. In 2023, she was invited by the Ministry of Culture to teach at their Culture Management Course. She co-founded The Chime Project (TCP) which creates cultural trails through music and history at The National Museum Delhi, and The Cities of Dehli (CoD) which takes 16 different 'cities' of Delhi's past, present and future through educational walking tours. Her research on cultural repatriation has been showcased at the Art and Antiquities Conference, in Mumbai, and in the India Perspectives Journal of the Ministry of External Affairs, India. Recently, her research was crucial in creating The Unfiltered History Tour about looted artefacts at the British Museum London, by Vice World News UK and DentsuWebchutney. It bagged 12 awards at the Cannes Lions Festival in France - a first time ever for India.

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