Artists Rakhi Peswani and Zakkir Hussain at Vadehra Art Gallery in New Delhi. 3 September – 5 October 2015.
IN CONTINUUM by Rakhi Peswani. The exhibition showcases four different series of works, executed since 2011, up until 2015. Some of these works have graphic, linear quality of drawing, and a few others, voluminous three-dimensionality. The works are executed and installed, occupying three-dimensional space, floor, walls, ceiling, and are accompanied with soundscapes.
These works evolved from Rakhi’s ongoing interest in the relationship between the human body, its capacity to sustain repetitive techniques and its ability to acquire skills and language. As a series with no first or last elements, these works contemplate craft from an action to a state within continuity, an expansive and evolving language, grounded in an ever-changing site, the human body. Endurance and cultivation of this language is through discipline, rigor, repetition and care of the self.
Just as the values of the craftsman have diminished from the world around us, the definitions of craftsmanship have slowly shifted. The root words – cræft, (Old English), chraft (Old High German), referred to power, physical strength, might, virtue of the body. In its modern and contemporary usage, the word is bereft of this early connotation, integral to the human body. The works shown here are reminders of this early implication of craft with the body.
The show amalgamates three tentative zones; Craft as a ‘meaningless’, provocative activity in today’s world, as an intimate condition, and as a necessary and unavoidable body process. From an exercise in foolery and subversion, to a composition in our nerves,the works explore the body as an active site for the play of Craft.
TRANSLATING THE SILENCE by Zakkir Hussain. Zakkir Hussain’s current body of works emerge from his need to expose the structural biases that exists in human societies that allows for exploitation of the weak and misrepresentation of their contribution to the larger workings of the system thereby keeping differences in check. Hierarchies have been ruthlessly enforced in different societies historically through ownership, slavery, segregation, profiling and various other covert means, and yet our contemporary knowledge of these systems has not helped us find solutions to these human problems. In fact, what Zakkir Hussain ruthlessly comments on, is the abject apathy that exists today that has only been cemented in place by the popular and digital media. He examines the farce that makes man the guardians of this planet as it is the very exploits of the guardian that has resulted in atrocities such as “nameless people being scattered across the globe, killings in the name of religion, ethnicity, caste….countless trees, birds, insects made extinct, and millions of lives forced into exile from their home land or murdered.”
The exhibition is aptly titled Translating the Silence, bringing into focus the humungous, and perhaps futile, task of speaking about the silenced. The human body is the protagonist in Zakkir’s explorations on violence, disturbances and prolonged abuse. Employing his distinctive visual language Zakkir produces works that refuse to aestheticize the visual imagery of brutality brought upon the body of the marginalised. Zakkir yet again reinforces his identity a prolific image-maker who upholds the spirit of an iconoclast.