Overlap: an exhibition by Meena Kadri & Arti Sandhu

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When I think of contemporary Indian design and a real appreciation of art on the Indian streets in its raw elemental form, I think of Meena Kadri & Arti Sandhu. I've long been a fan of their Indian street photography - see their flickr streams here & here and you will know what I mean. Both these artists are academically strong on design and have taught in India & abroad. Meena Kadri has taught at the NID and lectured across Europe and Arti has taught design in Newzealand and is now in America. I know both of them as seperate entities whose work I admire. So imagine my surprise and excitement on chancing on this exhibition on RandomSpecific Meena Kadri's blog - Overlap: Intersections of Desi and Diasporic. Overlap sees a coming together of both their work done across time and the many continents they've lived in, but rooted firmly in India and celebrating her local language, colour and accentricities."Arti and I have been intersecting across the globe for a decade now – in New Zealand, India, Hong Kong and the US. Sharing a fondness for hand-rendered, vernacular artforms, we conceived the show around our varied perspectives of Indianess – touching on the desi and diasporic, the traditional and typographic alongside language and locality." - Meena Kadri

A typographic collaboration between Meena Kadri and local Ahmedabadi sign writer Yasin Chhipa. Media: oil paint on 2 sided stainless steel plates.
Visitors to India are often surprised at the amount of English one encounters – in the street, peppered through Bollywood films and even sometimes in remote locales. Here the colourful sign-writing tradition of India has been used to capture the flavour of this localisation of the global spread of English.
The following are pictures are from BOLLYWOOD SOUL: A Vernacular Walk of Fame.

Hollywood has its Walk of Fame which displays its divas and heralds its heros on the pavements of Sunset Boulevard. This exhibition seeks to playfully create a Bollywood version employing local portraiture and typographic styles.
A collaboration between Meena Kadri and a local rickshaw mud-flap painter and a ‘sticker-wallah’ who cuts coloured adhesive into numbers, letters and decorative motifs to adorn vehicles. This father & son team work on the roadside in the Old City in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Media: oil paint and adhesive on rubber.

Arti Sandhu - The Alphabet Series
"This was also a way of remembering and a way of visually communicating my experiences in India. Combining the everyday (pani, toilet), mundane (clothes, traffic), novel, with some obvious strereotypes (haathi, mahal, buffalo) - I hope to finish the entire alphabet chart one day. The images that make up the prints are all from my collections of pictures taken in India." Arti Sandhu
Arti's Mahila Moments. How I flipped when I saw this. I hope to one day own one of these if Arti sells. In Arti speak, this series is "loosely inspired by Madhubani folk drawings, Ganjifa cards, dilemmas of modern day India, dilemmas of migration, fashion, my love for pattern, line and repetition, my childhood in India and even some kamasutra poses!!!"
You can read about my previous posts on Meena Kadri here & Arti Sandhu here. The show Overlap: Intersections of Desi and Diasporic is hosted by Box Design & Research and will be up at Delhi’s Mocha Arthouse, DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj through February, 2010. So all you lucky people in Delhi, you know where to head & for Bombayites, watch this space - I'll definitely tell you if they come here.

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