Sethusamudram Project 2012
A Collaborative project by India and Sri Lanka which will be exhibited in 1Shanthiroadstudio from 1st November to 7th November 2012.
In many ways the Sethu Samudram project will be a context to go into a process of analysis and inquiry of the contemporary socio-cultural and political anxieties and issues that Sri Lanka and India mutually share and bare. The two countries share more than just a geographical affinity; we have always been intertwined with history, mythology and a turbulent geopolitical situation.
Throughout history the geographical, political and imagined borders of India and Sri Lanka have been porous, and therefore shrouded with suspicion and circumspection. This has also been because of the close affinity that India and Sri Lanka share with regard to their historical connections. These exchanges and experiences are in many ways reflected in the contemporary mediations in politics and culture in both countries. Wounds have to heal and reconciliation needs to take root in hearts and minds. At the national level Sri Lanka is in a state of transition after a 30-year war, and many Sri Lankan artists are investigating this in their art. In this situation, what do these global and national transformations mean for the individual at a personal, psychological level? Ultimately, it is clear: the independent individual must assume social responsibility and essay the role of public intellectual.
This 6th residency-exhibition of Sethusamudram project features Lalith Manage and Prasanna Ranabahu from Colombo, Sri Lanka and Dimple B Shah and Prakash Lakshman from Bangalore, India, whom have participated in a collaborative art residency at 1ShanthiRoad.
This residency and exhibition aims to make art a part of the social fabric—both in interactive and participatory ways. It creates space for dialogue and debate, while questioning notions of artistic processes.
These contemporary works by artists are politically conscious ideologues. In these works the artists act as witnesses, free citizens and commentators on the rupture and healing of a nation that has been part of the vortex of inhuman violations. They have also been direct and indirect victims of violence and loss which they could attempt to redeem by giving voices to the voiceless. Their subversive use of material and metaphor, addresses loss through recollection. They gather desperate voices, images and visuals attempting to redeem inhuman action in the name of mindless war.
One could say, a Sri Lankan meal is not complete without “parippu”—a thick dhal dish made tempered with onion, curry leaf and cooked with coconut milk. Lalith and Prasanna explore the politics and social complexities involved in how Mysore Dhal and Bombay Onions became Red Dhal and Big Onions in Sri Lanka, two food items imported to from India. Food is more than what you think it is!
Lalith also presents T-shirts with the word “Connect” written in four different languages on them—Kannada, Tamil, English and Sinhala. It also has a matrix of kolam or rangoli dots printed on it that suggests us to “connect”, a very significant action associated with conflict and resolution.
Dimple unwraps the wounds of a history, and proposes to heal the memory and loss through sea salt. Small bags of salt are gifted to the audience labelled as mercy and forgive, with a hope to erase memory and soothe the human wounds.
Prakash constructs a monument to remember the violence and pain of the body through a multimedia installation. The oppressive boot is iconized in a work entitled “Red Rain”.
These artist question violence by recollecting, sharing, healing and suggest possibilities to heal and connect in the name of humanity.
@ 1Shanthiroad, Bangalore, India