India’s Jerusalem Biennale pavilion an ode to ‘experiments with truth’

India’s Jerusalem Biennale pavilion an ode to ‘experiments with truth’

The Indian art world that is gaining global viewership willfeature in yet another avenue in October – the fourth edition of the JerusalemBiennale which seeks to shift the euro-centric focus of the global contemporaryart.

Drawing upon a theme much-explored this year — the 150thbirth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — the country pavilion promises to be anode to man's "experiments with truth" and striving for God, sayspavilion curator Gargi Seth.

The precursor exhibition, that opens to the public on July12 here, is titled 'Experiments with Truth' after Gandhi's autobiography"The Story of My Experiments with Truth".

On the world stage, it is an exploration not just of Gandhibut also of his tenet of truth.

"The works are either a direct or indirect statementsof spiritual beliefs, or human tribulations and hopes, or depictions of man'sreflections on the ultimate truth, imbued with wonder and now with irony.

"Some works will depict the persona of Gandhi. Eachwork is true to man's experiments with truth; and, in the larger context of theBiennale, his eternal striving for God," Seth, who heads the Indian ArtCircle, SAID.

A selection of accomplished Indian artists' works is curatedfor the Biennale. These artists have "actively explored and expressedtheir creativity in the field of religion, spirituality and philosophy",the art curator said.

After the Biennale invited proposals from curators, Seth'scuration was selected as a "tangential, thought provoking concept".

"This Biennale is a look into a different part of theworld and I believe it gives Indian art an audience in a different part of theworld. Europe has enjoyed a sort of a longish hegemony and for far too long artfrom other parts of the world have been considered a poor cousin. Why not thinkof this as an opportunity to set a new agenda on new stage?"

Participating artists include Satish Gujral, Anjolie ElaMenon, Asit Patnaik, Arpana Caur, Saba Hasan, Biman B Das, Rini Dhumal, NirenSengupta, Siddharth, Seema Kohli, Ambalika Chitkara, Neeraj Gupta, KotaNeelima, Avijit Roy, Shruti Chandra, Vasundhara Tewari and Shilo Shiv Suleman.

The Jerusalem biennale pavilion, however, is "not somuch about seeking to depict Gandhi's ideals, it is rather a take-off point forthe artists' creativity here".

Since the theme for the 2019 Jerusalem Biennale is 'LeShemShamayim' (For Heaven's Sake), the India pavilion will interweave Gandhi, truthand search for God. "In my opinion, religion is man's most elemental andeternal search for, and relationship with the ultimate truth."

When the country is celebrating Gandhi, Seth also finds itonly appropriate that we rediscover his inspirational approach to the pursuitof truth, especially within the context of religion and religiosity.

"Over the leap of generations, Gandhi's idealswithstand the testimony of time, becoming even more relevant for the truthseekers of today, as they seek to reinvent a global society into one thatcourageously acknowledges our varied pasts."

For India to participate as one of the 30 projects featuringin the Jewish art event, Seth's curatorial approach had been to "create adeliberate diversity of approaches in the selection of artworks".

"India is a land of solicited debate, shastrarth. Theexperiments are as much on a spiritual-philosophical level as they are withidentity, gender conformity, man's interface with other human beings, nature,mythology, and society."

The precursor show is scheduled to be inaugurated by CultureMinister Prahlad Singh Patel and will run till July 21.

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