Out of Your Shadow Presents the Aesthetic Response of South Asian Women Artists

The exhibition is on display till January 11, 2020 at the Gallery Espace, New Delhi, India.

Gallery Espace and Blueprint12 are presenting Out of Your Shadow, a group show of women artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

These countries not only share a common geography and culture, but they are united by a common political system - democracy - a history of unrest, repression, and violence. Women, of course, have been the worst affected by this. Their lives have been circumscribed or they have been forced to migrate. It has also sharpened these women artists’ focus on identity – political and gender – and the forces that shape or endanger it. Their art is an aesthetic response, oblique, and intensely personal, keeping within the bounds of convention while also seeking to transcend and mould it to their needs.

The show hopes to bring attention to women artists in South Asia with the aim of recognising gender inequity while also opening up spaces for the voices of women to be heard.

Arshi Ahmadzai

Arshi Ahmadzai, Unknown Prints, 2018-2019

Currently living and working in Kabul and New Delhi, Arshi’s art practice deals with her visual understanding of the female figure from a feminine standpoint. In this regard, her visuals represent her own artistic freedom as a woman artist and sometimes alternatively, act as accounts of the over-sexualized female body. Her working practice develops from her own journey and the representation of the female body in society, history, politics and in her own religion to raise the sensitivity for viewer. Often her images extend into words from her mother tongue, Urdu. The words are oden stories that are closely related to the visuals, while at other times lose their structure to make space for words that may not be coherent narratives, and in this way, speak of how the lives of women are thought of as devoid of meaning and matter.

Arshi Ahmadzai, Unknown Prints, 2018-2019

Jasmine Nilani Joseph

Jasmine Nilani Joseph, Address of Residence I, 2018

Born in 1990 in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Jasmine Nilani Joseph is an emerging artist whose works revolve around barricades denoting its significance in her life and the history of her homeland. In 1995, her family was displaced from Jaffna to Vavuniya as a result of the civil war. When they returned to visit Jaffna 27 years later, their home was no longer there. This exhibition is an examination of this tension by looking to the stories and emotional attachments of residences throughout the Jaffna peninsula.

Jasmine Nilani Joseph, Address of Residence III, 2018

Madiha Sikander

Madiha Sikander, All Representation is Misrepresentation, 2018

Lahore-based Madiha Sikander is a visual artist and writer. Her concerns in the context of contemporary miniature practice and the sociopolitical commentary of the region in which she is based, locate her work squarely in the midst of an extremely relevant and contemporary regional and global dialogue. Built of complex layers that simultaneously address the past, the present, the social, political and personal, Sikander’s most recent work with the book is able to simultaneously engage notions of identity, ownership, memory and erasure. Sikander’s work contends the relation between real and imaginary, depicting the world beyond appearances. Her use of realism is a turning point in the history of our contemporary miniature painting.

Madiha Sikander, How to Paint a Flower, 2018

Mansha Chhatwal

Mansha Chhatwal, Songs of a Coward, 2019

A visual artist and graphic designer from Mumbai, Mansha has worked on several experimental projects. In Songs of a Coward, the artist interprets the book by deconstructing the poems literally and rearranging the letters one by one, in sets of A-Z. Ever so slowly and patiently she arrives at complete sets of the alphabet, by now clear of all the pain and ready to be used again.

Mansha Chhatwal, Drawing the Line of Intolerance, 2019

Book burning is an open threat to the freedom of thought and expression and in Drawing the line of intolerance, the artist burns the books ceremoniously once more and uses the ashes to paint on paper. These panels invite you to meditate upon the tragic incidents for a few moments.

Mansha Chhatwal, Brick or a Book, 2019

Since ancient times book burners have reduced to ashes the magical, fearful words written on pages. Even in the age of Kindle and ebooks the act of book burning is a powerful one and considered sacrilegious. Brick or a Book is inspired by candle marches that take place after a tragedy occurs. It’s an act of healing, solidarity and also of taking action. Pages of books (burnt in the past) are made into candles.

Najmun Nehar Keya

Najmun Nehar Keya, Echo of Love, 2019

Dhaka-based Najmun compares the entire incidence of her memory that she passed, with her present feelings in this current society. She is also curious about the dichotomy of human behavior and society. Besides drawing and painting Keya also has been experimenting with different materials and mediums such as video, 2-D animation, print making etc.

Vipeksha Gupta

Vipeksha Gupta, Anāpāna-sati, 2019

A Delhi based drawing artist, Vipeksha Gupta focuses on taking a critical view on the concept of looking inward for finding peace and the whole science of spirituality. Her arrangements are schematic; inviting the viewer to move into a space of deep contemplation. It is a process of metamorphosis that begins when the soul awakens to its spiritual essence.

Vipeksha Gupta, Anāpāna-sati, 2019

Anāpāna-sati - These intensive, experiential and contemplative drawings are based on her experience of the exploration of her own breath. Each breath carries a novel experience which reveals the truth about Anicca (impermanence). While exploring within at great depths, one realizes that the whole body is made of infinite Kalapas (cells) which are transitory and each Kalapa defines the below mentioned experiences. Each drawing is indented 10,000 times with circular cells hence depicting her journey while introspecting.

Vipeksha Gupta, Paramis, 2019

Paramis - There are 10 virtues which when all developed, leads to complete inner peace and happiness. This series is based on her experience when she undertook a 10-day retreat in noble silence. With each passing day the meditator develops parami; hence each day denoting one virtue.

Vipeksha Gupta, Paramis, 2019