Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Imitation of life

The Asialink Arts Residency, Program,@1Shanthiroad studio/gallery,Bangalore, India 2009 is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-India Council which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia Council.

The recent work of Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley at 1.shanthiroad studio residency supported by Asia Link is called “Imitation of life”.Opening 21st Nov 6.30,on till26th Nov.

The show features a saree that has been designed with a camouflage print and another piece a traditional male underwear -langoti embellished with multinational symbols. They are emblematic and refer to the violence of our times. Centered around the uprising of the naxelite movement that unprecedented change in forest land acquisitions in the name of development that have systematically erased indigenous people from the land and cultural geography.

The process of using urban craft like the local welders, silk screen printers, tailors from the vicinity in this process makes this truly a collaborative effort by the artists with diverse handcrafted skills prevailing in the urban metropolis.

Despite the political associations they are fabrics that have not changed for centuries. The saree still is graceful, multidimensional ,uncut garment that is part of the living tradition of India. There have been many additions to the saree but the form is archetypal. One sees it as an architectural screen to deflect the gaze, a cradle to be hung like hammock to nurse a baby, a rope to escape an unbearable family and unfortunately as a rope for ending a life for a victim of domestic violence. By camouflaging the saree it the artist seem to empower and resist the timeless female garment.
suresh jayaram

The langoti on the other hand has been almost extinct in urban situations except for rural sectors and part of the traditions of local wrestlers, farm laborers and the working class. The wearing of this is associated with the control of male sexuality and possibly a phallo- centric developmental module. These fabric works are displayed on an urban mannequin and on a steel armature of an architecture pillar read labour. Locating the fabric of camouflage and very private undergarment of the Indian male is made public and embellished with symbols of buoyant economy. These interventions can be seen as part of the resistance to the country’s accelerated growth, that seems to bulldoze the agenda of the new economy leaving an inhuman trail of stories that will be unheard amidst the din of globalization.