Through photography, sculpture, painting, performance and film, Homelands tells stories of migration and resettlement in South Asia and beyond, as well as violent division and unexpected connections. The exhibition engages with displacement and the transitory notion of home in a region marked by the repercussions of the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, and the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, as well as by contemporary migration. The artists explore intimate and political histories, often contesting borders, questioning common pasts and imagining new futures.
About the Curator
Dr Devika Singh is Curator, International Art at Tate Modern. Her work focuses on modern and contemporary art and architecture in South Asia and the global history of modernism. She is an affiliated scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies of the University of Cambridge where she was previously Smuts Research Fellow. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and was a fellow at the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art in Paris. She was a visiting fellow at the French Academy at Rome, the Freie Universität, Berlin, and the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues, specialised magazines and in the journals Art History, Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Art Historiography and Third Text. In 2017 she guest edited an issue of MARG. Exhibitions curated by Singh include ‘Planetary Planning’ at the Dhaka Art Summit (2018); ‘Gedney in India’ at the CSMVS, Mumbai (2017) and Duke University (2018).
At Kettle’s Yard, Dr Devika Singh worked with Dr Amy Tobin, Curator of Research, Exhibitions and Events, and Grace Storey, Assistant Curator, with assistance from Alina Khakoo and Holly Dongqing Yuan.
About the Artists
Desmond Lazaro (b. 1968, Leeds, lives and works in Pondicherry) began working in the Rajasthani Pichhvais tradition after studying a BA in Fine Arts at the University of Central Lancashire; MA in Painting at MS University of Baroda; and MA in Visual Islamic and Traditional Art at the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture in London. He undertook an apprenticeship to Master Bannu Ved Pal Sharma, whose family have practiced the craft of Pichhvais painting for more than seven generations, before returning to the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London to pursue a PhD. His research project, entitled ‘Methods, Materials and Symbolism in the Pichhvais Painting Tradition of Rajasthan’ (2005), was published as a book by Mapin India. In 2006, he founded The Traditional Arts Trust which supports families in Rajasthan who continue to produce new Pichhvais paintings in the traditional manner, despite overwhelming odds.
Seher Shah (b. 1975, Karachi, lives and works in Delhi) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. Her practice uses experiences from the field of art and architecture to think about space, landscape, objects and aesthetics through drawing, printmaking and sculpture. In recent years her work has been concerned about the language of drawing and how to represent an experiential nature of space. The relationships within perspective drawings, the aesthetics of architecture, and materiality within drawing and sculpture are some of the preoccupations in her practice. Her work draws through scale shifts between the individual to architecture, personal memory to collective historical events, and the transformation of symbols and spaces. Drawing spaces that become a transformative process where personal memory and attitudes exist alongside, or against, the status quo of the iconic and historic. Constructing perspectives not just as a drawing method, but a process that allows for disaffected elements alongside the idealism inherent within architectural and cultural aesthetics.
Sohrab Hura (b. 1981 Chinsurah, West Bengal, lives and works in Delhi) has published Life Is Elsewhere and its paired book Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!!! with the latter being shortlisted for the Aperture-Paris Photo Photobook Of The Year award in 2018. In 2019 his book The Coast was shortlisted for the same award. He also published his manifesto A Proposition For Departure, a 20 page music notation book which sets out the blueprint of his attempt to create a three movement composition using the sound extractions he makes from his photographs. His fifth book The Leveeis due to be published in January 2020.
Munem Wasif’s (b. 1983, Comilla, lives and works in Dhaka) stark black & white photography investigates complex social and political issues with a traditional, humanistic language, by getting close to the people, physically and psychologically, and dealing with multiple questions and contradictions. Expressionistic in style and long-term in method, Wasif often experiments beyond the tradition, tests the possibilities of fiction, by borrowing a familiar documentary language. His interest is often on the concept of ‘documents’ and ‘archives’ and its influence on addressing politically and geographically complex issues. Teaching and collaborating with a new generation of artists and curating experimental works is an organic and integral part of his own personal works, which keeps him on the edge of experimenting and extending the mediums, including video and sound. He was one of the curators of Chobimela VII, International Festival of Photography. His most recent book on Old Dhaka was published by Clémentine de la Féronnière in 2013.
Munem Wasif’s participation is in association with Whitechapel Gallery. Wasif will contribute to their ‘Conversations on Photography’ series on Thursday 14 November