Of visualising memory and culture

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By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi– An upcoming exhibition at Ishara Art Foundation titled ‘Growing Like A Tree’ curated by Sohrab Hura, looks at regional histories of image-making through a visual and sonic excavation of place, memory and culture.

‘Growing Like A Tree’ represents many firsts for the Ishara Art Foundation. This exhibition marks Sohrab Hura’s inaugural curatorial project as a photographer and filmmaker along with the presentation of several artists and collectives never before shown institutionally in a regional and international context. The exhibition will be on view at Ishara Art Foundation from 20 January 2021 to 20 May 2021.

Hura’s individual and collective journeys through photography and moving image over the years have presented both a form of rooting and uprooting of places as markers of identity. Through this exhibition, he maps a network of past and present collaborators with 14 artists and collectives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Germany, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Singapore, seeking to expand the framework of boundaries set out by the geographical context of South Asia.

Together they create a space where multiple voices and experiences are brought into dialogue with one another, capturing dualities in which organic growth is matched with resource extraction, the archival is juxtaposed with the contemporary, and the magic of the mundane is seen through children’s eyes.

Referencing the interconnected spheres of contemporary artistic practice, this show considers photography as a locus in an expanded field of art that includes videos, books and sound installations.

In Hura’s own words,”What I’ve been seeing over the years are collective flows in terms of movement and exchange of photographers across political, geographical and cultural boundaries. An osmosis-like relationship with photographers across borders has started to seep through with each one searching for new ways to grow as artists and having at stake something in common that is far more urgent than photography.”

The artists represented in this exhibition tackle themes of changing cities, collective memory, the environment, public spaces and the archive through works that sit at the intersection of documentary and fiction, image and object. The notion of what forms a community emerges in this show as demonstrated in Sean Lee’s photo-montage where fingers rise from the soil like a forest of saplings.

The ensemble of artists and collectives in the exhibition includes Aishwarya Arumbakkam, Anjali House, Bunu Dhungana, Farah Mulla, Jaisingh Nageswaran, Katrin Koenning, Munem Wasif, Nida Mehboob, Nepal Picture Library, Reetu Sattar, Sarker Protick, Sathish Kumar, Sean Lee, and Yu Yu Myint Than, along with site-specific interventions by Sohrab Hura. (IANS)

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