Hyderabad: A forthcoming show Delineating Memories by young artists from the subcontinent at Exhibit 320 in Delhi, explores the artists relationship between spaces and memories. Various artists from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan relate to imagined and real spaces through mixed media works, photographs and installations;what is interesting is their relatively subaltern perspective and approach in their work.
The people, especially, in their absence, are the most significant factor. The fact that these people, individually or collectively, at some point inhabited such spaces creates a narrative of living and lived realities within them. Simeen Farhat has used the written word, Arabic calligraphic installations to investigate the notions of traditions and modernism, of femininity and identity in Pakistan The work of Noorali Chagani also from Pakistan revolves around the concept of absence of home. The artist uses dimunized bricks to create the idea of an edifice, broken or incomplete, but still impregnated with messages written in form of graffiti or stuck on it as posters.
The same idea is magnified and expanded by Gazi Nafis Ahmed from Bangladesh in his Purana Dhaka series. The buildings are relegated into the background, as people dominate to create a song of existence. A man with a cock nestled against his cheek, a child stepping into a dark building or a palmist with his own palms stuck out speak of a bygone era and disappearing universes.
Martand Khosla narrates the stories of people who sleep on the pavement, their disprivileging and invisibilisation from urban memory. People we see every day at the crossing, under the flyovers, at construction sites— homeless and yet surviving, without ever entering into our visual memoirs as individuals.
People so different from the photographed and framed individuals of the erstwhile royal family documented by Simrin Mehra Agarwal whose work critically examines the visual history and transitional phase of royalty from grandeur to decline post-independence.