5 Artists, 5 Projects: Nilima Sheikh | Anju Dodiya | Mithu Sen | Reena Saini Kallat | Archana Hande
Interjecting the flow of solo exhibitions with a group show this year titled ‘5 artists | 5 projects’, Chemould Prescott Road brings together an exhibition of artists whose spectrum of ideas, forms, and material may not necessarily speak a similar language, but the scale - tangibly and conceptually - converse with each other. More so, these projects have been primarily showcased outside the city, which will now converge together within the gallery space.
Generationally and presently, women artists have always dominated the spectrum of artists that we exhibit; this was not necessarily the decided route to take, however the trajectory presented itself. In bringing these projects to the limelight, we assimilated 5 projects by 5 artists that have combined within this show - it happened that all 5 artists were women!
The only project that was once exhibited and seen earlier was Archana Hande's arrangeurownmarriage.com, exhibited in 2005. Bidding adieu to traditional matchmakers, this project was a witty resonation of Archana's 'singleness'. It began as an investigation of purity, blood and the legal angle of the institution of marriage, nonetheless, all these years later, when one looks back at that project - its time is as much now as it was then!
Exhibited at Kochi Biennale, 2018, Anju Dodiya's 'Rehearsal for an Apocalypse' refers to the irony with which one confronts the idea of the apocalypse today. However, as an artist, Anju doesn't submit to the trauma. She stands back and marvels at the tragic and the heroic. Like an actor, with empathy and delight, she immerses herself in scenes of terror and displacement.
Exaltation of the omnipresent Malayalee nurse, Nilima Sheikh's 'Salam Chechi' was showcased at the main venue at Kochi Biennale in 2018 too. The various scenes in her wood panels celebrate the unsung heroes of the medical field – nurturing, maternal women in the state of Kerala – who travel to alien lands, away from their families to take on roles that perhaps no one else wants to in caring for the ailing, often while living in less than ideal conditions.
Reena Kallat's ‘Enemy Properties', 2019 focuses on four pieces of architecture that bear the weight of the legacy of partition. In political state records, these buildings showcased in the artwork have been defined as 'enemy' properties. Through fleeting images of their build up and break down in the videos, one is drawn to think about how these beautiful structures became projections of historical hostility. This work was previously exhibited in a show called 'Distilled Blueprints', curated by Veerangana Solanki in Baroda.
Through a collage of past and recent video works, Mithu Sen's 'Mouth to Myself' questions the creation of artistic self-identity. The video installation puts different moments in the artist's career into animated dialogue, lapsing, looping, and bending temporal convention. Self-portrait becomes an ongoing exercise, bouncing and unfolding through time. Language, too, is pulled apart through its complex and performative relationship with communication - secrets and self-censorship, betrayals of subconscious glitch, and playful irreverence.
Addressing the pertinence of societal norms, impending catastrophes, historical hostilities, empathy and accountability as well as self-identity, these projects highlight various aspects and layers of our society.