‘Sheher, Prakriti, Devi’ curated by Gauri Gill at Ishara Art Foundation

Ishara Art Foundation proudly presents “Sheher, Prakriti, Devi,” an exhibition curated by the renowned artist and photographer, Gauri Gill. Marking Gill’s debut as a curator, the show delves into the intricate relationship between dynamic cities, the natural environment, and the inseparable sacred. The title is derived from Hindustani terms, translating to ‘city’, ‘nature’, and ‘deity’. Drawing inspiration from Gill’s ongoing documentation of urban and semi-urban spaces in India since 2003 in the series ‘Rememory,’ the exhibition features twelve artists and collectives working across diverse contexts.

Mrinalini Mukherjee, Devi – Installation Instruction (c. 1982). Archival document, 30 x 21.5 cm. Image courtesy of Asia Art Archive. From the collection of the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation.

“Sheher, Prakriti, Devi” unfolds a world where cities coexist with multiple life-worlds, where built and natural structures intertwine. Gill, along with like-minded practitioners, showcases the porous nature of environments; termites infiltrate structures, gates lead to unfinished roads, and historical ruins become homes for migratory birds. The exhibition prompts viewers to consider ecology as a convergence of cultural, natural, and spiritual realms.

Rashmi Kaleka, Deemak #6 (2023). Watercolour and graphite on hot pressed archival 300gsm paper, 31 cm x 41 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

Gill expresses, “Through this palimpsestic and idiosyncratic exhibition, I wish to acknowledge those who have found ways to stubbornly persist in their practice, often sharing their work only within their families and local communities, completely outside the circuits and networks of professional artists, contemporary art discourse, galleries, and markets… Through this gathering of insistent voices we hope to consider the dualistic worlds of the depleted and regenerative, manmade and natural, colonial and Indigenous, young and old, English and non-English, mundane and magical, absent and present.”

The exhibition features works by artists such as Chamba Rumal, Chiara Camoni, Gauri Gill, Ladhki Devi, Mariam Suhail, Meera Mukherjee, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Rashmi Kaleka, Shefalee Jain, Sukanya Ghosh, Vinnie Gill, and Yoshiko Crow.

The artworks are loaned from private collections, including Anant Art, Akar Prakar, the Pundole Family Collection, the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation, and the Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection.

Emily Avery Yoshiko Crow, Bhrkuti Tara (2020). Watercolour on paper, 22.86 cm x 30.48 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

About Gauri Gill

Born in 1970 in Chandigarh and based in Delhi, India, Gauri Gill’s multifaceted practice spans over two decades, encompassing diverse projects. Notable works include “Notes from the Desert,” documenting marginalized communities in rural Rajasthan, and “Fields of Sight,” a collaboration with Adivasi artist Rajesh Vangad, blending photography with Warli drawing. Gill explores themes of displacement, migrant experiences, and Indian identity markers like caste and class. Exhibiting globally since 1995, she featured in prestigious events like the 58th Venice Biennale and Documenta 14. Her recent survey exhibition debuted at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, and her publications, ‘Acts of Appearance’ (2022) and ‘Fields of Sight’ (2023), showcase her collaborations with rural artists. In 2023, Gill received the 10th Prix Pictet, and her work is held in esteemed collections worldwide, including MoMA, Tate, and the Ishara Art Foundation.

Location: Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai, UAE

Dates: January 19 –June 1, 2024

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