Kolkata-based gallery Experimenter presents ode to life in pandemic at Art Dubai

·3-min read

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) With distance, ephemerality and memory as the key themes, Kolkata-based gallery Experimenter’s show at the ongoing 14th edition Art Dubai is an ode to the act of living through a pandemic.

Titled, “8:01”, the show featuring artists like Ayesha Sultana, and Biraaj Dodiya, is the only Indian showcase at the six-day long (March 29- April 2) art fair at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Sultana’s painting series of the sky at precise moments of time in a day is a reminder of how looking out of the window and gazing at the sky became the favourite activity for millions of people in the country during the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown.

On the other hand, Dodiya’s paintings, layered with expressionistic brushstrokes depicting nocturnal scenes, reflect on the balance between a state of wakefulness and lucidity, something that became challenging to achieve amidst pandemic provoked anxiety and sleep disorders.

“Sultana’s practice is an ongoing investigation of drawing and deriving form from her surroundings to create an understanding of space. In these paintings, titled with the time of day, each color swatch frames a fleeting moment of transience, as gradients shift from shadow to light.

“As with much of her practice, Dodiya refers to moments in time where sequences of events are a blur and not chronological, often taking the form of a lament while introspecting on her own self and personal experiences,” Experimenter said in a statement.

The gallery is among 50 leading contemporary and modern galleries from 31 countries, showcasing a diverse selection of artworks, artists and practices.

The platform that is aimed at providing local and international artists with an outlet to express their creativity while promoting Dubai’s local art scene, has on offer not just galleries from major and emerging international art centres, but also from across the Middle East, South and East Asia, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, India, Vietnam and Philippines.

The 14th edition also features a strong representation from across the African continent including galleries from Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia.

“Experimenter goes outside the expected imperatives of the Indian art market, highlighting instead an experimental international program of artists.

“With an ambitious and challenging multidisciplinary approach, Experimenter is an incubator for contemporary artists and mounts interactive installations, multiple channel work, live projects and political interventions that question the fraught and kinetic era we live in,” Art Dubai said in a statement.

Other artists featured by the gallery include Prabhakar Pachpute, Praneet Soi and Radhika Khimji.

Khimji’s “This House Ties Its Ropes Tight” can often be seen as being at once a painting, a drawing and a collage; it is also an embroidery and a sculpture.

According to Experimenter, the work presents the viewer with the form of a home layered with interventions of the self, in many ways deconstructing, evading and erasing constructions of our formulated identities of self and space over time.

“From the works presented, the viewer is invited to evaluate one’s mode of seeing or contemplating one’s surroundings. From the lens of distance, ephemerality and memory, one is often encountered with a renewed perspective by which to recognize the familiar in the everyday,” the gallery said.

Art Dubai is being held with the “highest COVID-19 safety protocols” in place ensuring a secure, safe and flexible environment for participants and visitors. PTI TRS TRS MG TRS