Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Closing the Loop" Business Standard Sun June 27 2010

My collaborative exhibition "Indigo" with Indian artist Shelly Jyoti was covered in "Closing the Loop" by Gargi Gupta Business Standard Sunday, June 27, 2010

As more and more Indian artists collaborate with their foreign counterparts, cultures and nationalities blend in creative ways.

Jugalbandis are accepted practice in music, but in the plastic arts you rarely hear of collaborations. And collaborations across cultures and nationalities — almost never. That is now changing, with greater interaction between artists from different countries through arts residencies, exchange programmes or the Internet.

Take Amitesh Verma, a 34-year-old Delhi-based artist known for his detailed sketches of horses. In November last year Verma was in Marnay-sur-Seine, France, on an arts residency. He met and made friends with Brazilian artist Myra. When she came to India for a residency at the Sanskriti Foundation in Delhi, he went to meet her. There he met another artist, Andrew Connelly, associate professor of sculpture at California State University in the USA. Sharing notes on their travels and working at residencies around the world, the two found themselves agreeing about the “value to an artist in travel and the ability to work in different environments with other artists from far away and from different perspectives”, says Connelly. “We thought it would be interesting to show our work made while in residency from our respective experiences.”

Andrew ConnellyThe result, ‘Crossing Over’, a two-man show paid for by both artists, ended at Delhi’s Shridharani Gallery this Friday. It was a disparate show, with Connelly showing sculptural installations influenced by India, in materials such as bamboo, rice, Holi colours, and thread used for religious ceremonies. Verma, for his part, had paintings that revealed a classical European sensibility that he’d imbibed in France. Connections, and the oblique ways in which they are forged in today’s globalised world, thus, were what held the show together.

A similar chance connection brought together Shelly Jyoti, fashion designer and artist from Baroda, and Laura Kina, Chicago-based lecturer on art. They didn’t meet at a residency; it was their shared interest in textiles and cultural identity that got them talking at the show of a common artist friend, Shelley Bahl, and they went on to collaborate on Indigo, held in Delhi and Mumbai early this year.

Jyoti ShellyThe exhibition had other threads in common — such as indigo dye and the use of embroidery as a cultural artifact. If for Jyoti indigo evoked Mahatma Gandhi and its importance in the political history of India, for Kina its blue colour had more personal associations. Kina’s grandparents were sugarcane farmers in Okinawa, Japan, and wore indigo-dyed shirts and kimonos. Also, the colour blue is sacred to Judaism, to which Kina converted after marriage.

For Kina, the show was a truly trans-national effort. ‘Devon Street Sampler’, as her series was called, had works based on street signs that she saw in the multicultural, multi-racial neighbourhood of Devon Street, Chicago, where she lived. The works were conceived on computer in the USA and sent to women embroiderers at MarketPlace: Handwork of Work, a fair-trade organisation in Mumbai. “They would send pictures and I would coordinate from Chicago,” says Kina.

Laura KinaIf there’s an element of chance in the coming together of Verma and Connelly, Jyoti and Kina, Mumbai-based artist and activist, Tejal Shah, and Han Bing, from Hunan, China, have had a more sustained partnership. They showed together at the Asian Triennial Manchester in 2008 before coming together in March 2010 for ‘A Cry from the Narrow Between’ at Gallery Espace in Delhi.

There’s greater synergy in their art too, in the way they make full use of video, performance, photography and public intervention to address issues of sexuality, power and violence. While the LGBT community is Shah’s concern, Bing’s works have an erotic charge, juxtaposing the naked human body with blocks of concrete and construction material. The violence of everyday life is presumably common across nationalities and cultures.

It's hard to read this from the jpeg but here is a copy of the clipping from the original article:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Save the date - Sugar solo show opens Sept 10th

Save the date!
I'm in the studio (and Hawaii) this summer making work for a new solo show which will open in the fall.
Laura Kina "Sugar"
Set during the 1920’s-1940’s, Laura Kina’s SUGAR paintings recall obake ghost stories and feature Japanese and Okinawan picture brides turned machete carrying sugar cane plantation field laborers on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Drawing on oral history and family photographs from Nisei (2nd generation) and Sansei (3rd generation) from Peepekeo, Pi’ihonua, and Hakalau plantation community members as well as historic images, Kina’s paintings take us into a beautiful yet grueling world of manual labor, cane field fires and flumes.
The exhibition will run from Sept 10-Oct 28, 2010
Opening reception Friday, Sept 10, 2010 6-9pm.
Woman Made Gallery
685 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
Tel 312-738-0400
Gallery Hours:
Wed., Thurs., Fri. 12-7 p.m.; Sat., Sun. 12-4 p.m.
As a point of interest, check out the Japanese American National Museum's current exhibition Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantation of Hawai'i through August 22, 2010 in Los Angeles.

You can see many of the works from this collection online. It's really fascinating.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In the Economic Times and the Sunday Guardian in India June 13, 2010

Ok, so I have to cop to something. I have my name tagged in "Google Alerts." Because of this, I woke up this morning in Chicago to discover that I'm in the Sunday Economic Times and the Sunday Guardian in India! India seems to be the press gift that keeps on giving. This must be article #20 or something by now!

Growing canvas of Indian art
13 Jun 2010, 0411 hrs IST,Vaishali Dar,ET Bureau