Recently, India participated at the 58th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale de Venezia, one of the biggest art events in the world. Art enthusiasts come from around the globe to participate in this event. Artworks of eight prominent artists from India were selected to represent the country at the event. The principal partner and Curator for the India Pavilion at the event was Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.
The names of the artists whose works were selected to represent India at the event are MF Hussain, Nandalal Bose, Atul Dodiya, GR Iranna, Rummana Hussain, Jitish Kallat, Shakuntala Kulkarni and Ashim Purkayastha. The India Pavilion was commissioned by the NGMA, co-organised by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry, along with KNMA.
‘La Biennale di Venezia’ or the ‘Venice Biennale’, one of the biggest art events in the world has not only extended a great amount of support to artists coming from all corners of the world but is also, in several ways, helping art to thrive and mobilize. The event recorded the presence and participation of a number of eminent artists as well as a huge amount of visitors from across the globe, who came to view and appreciate the art on display.
The Principal Partner of the ‘India Pavilion’, KNMA is a Delhi based art museum that is dedicated to promoting South Asian contemporary art within and outside India. It is the first ever private, modern and contemporary art museum in the country. The chairperson of KNMA, Mrs Kiran Nadar said, “These eight significant Indian modern and contemporary artists come from across India and their work reflects strikingly different responses to the figure and philosophies of Gandhi.”
The group presentation titled ‘Our Time for a Future Caring’, engaged with discourses on one of India’s most eminent personality, Mahatma Gandhi, his philosophies and the relevance of his values in the modern world. On his hundred and fifty years, the artwork reflected the theme of Gandhi both directly and by tastefully discerning certain brackets of his life.
It was the very first time that the works of the ‘National Treasure’ artist, Nandalal Bose was showcased in Europe. His work called ‘Haripura Panel’ was taken to the event on loan from the National Gallery of Modern Art. The exhibition was followed by Jittish Kallat’s ‘Covering Letter’ which projected a letter from Gandhi to Hitler onto fog in the form of video installation that was also exhibited in Europe for the first time. Apart from that, Shakuntala Kulkarni, with her powerful photographs, cane armour and objects voiced a protest against violence and rape of small girls. The exhibition also witnessed other artists critically investigating the various themes related to Universal Gandhian Values such as non-violence, truth, compassion, simplicity, etc.
The philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi along with his life’s history is now a matter that is beyond any boundaries of time. His values have played a significant role in shaping the behaviour of our society and it continues to teach several lessons in times of crisis. It is a matter of pride that through the medium of Indian contemporary art, the theme of Mahatma Gandhi in its historical, cultural and philosophical context is being showcased on a global platform.
It was India’s second appearance at the event after 2011. The participation of Indian artists at a global level is exceedingly motivating for all the young aspiring artists. The Biennale is an impactful initiative to bring back a culture of art among common people and the representation of Indian artists in such internationally recognised events is sure to encourage budding talent to aspire to even higher levels.