Silt of Seasons: Reena Kallat Saini
In Silt of Seasons, the coming together of Saini Kallat's recent body of work under one roof, including the varied media of sculpture, photography, painting and video, reflect a wide range of her recurrent thematic engagements and interests: politics, evolutions in human conditions, notions of loss, territory and borders. Her art practice pays careful attention to historical and contemporary narratives. For instance, the politics in India with its neighbour Pakistan, the unresolved dispute over Kashmir has been a source of friction between the nations, bringing it under the glare of world politics. Emanating from her belief that the disputed patch of land between the two nations is a space symbolic of human inanity, she has continued to engage with its form in several of her pieces.
Reena Saini Kallat works as artist and chronicler. Research towards facts and data often leads her to government offices. The names collected, permeate into the very essence of her work, whether names of the workers (in symbol forms) who built the Taj Mahal; names of persons who signed the peace petition between India and Pakistan; names of those who have gone missing due to various reasons. Seen collectively, if one observes the various bodies of work within the exhibition, Saini Kallat's concerns seem to address an overarching sense of loss. In her work there is an evocation of the loss of lives during partition, the continued loss of lives through war and terrorist activities, the loss of lives through accidents, murders, riots or natural calamities; the loss of Shahjahan's wife Mumtaz which prompted the building of the Taj Mahal, followed by the legendary myths of the actual builders whose hands were chopped off in order that the Taj Mahal remains a distinctly unique tomb.
Kallat Saini is interested in constructing images that seem to change and transform by the possibilities they carry for the generation of meaning through a calibrated interplay of image and form.