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RESIST

Initiated by Gallery Engendered New Delhi, and presented at Forum  Art Gallery “RESIST” will reveal, subvert and expand aesthetic boundaries. Planned as an evening of live performances, art and fashion installations that will steer the artist’s creativity towards a collective protest, RESIST will be held on April 15 , 7 pm onwards at Forum Art Gallery Chennai and will be on view till April 19.

"Aim of Forum Art Gallery to be associated with Gallery Engendered Space New Delhi to bring RESIST to Chennai  is to create an opportunity to recruit the Chennai audience in a collective conscience with the national with issues pertaining to gender inequalities and injustice against women and to engage the local artistic and creative platforms in a dynamic dialogue of strength and solidarity"- Shalini Biswajit Director. 

MYNA MUKHERJEE, curator and Director Gallery Engendered Space New Delhi conceptualized RESIST as a temporal art intervention & protest illustrating conscience and dissent against gender based violence and injustice. The shock of the Delhi rape case assaulted the sensibilities of many artists, not all of whom were in a position to demonstrate their agitation on the streets. Hence RESIST was conceptualized to give a platform to all artists, either through the curated portion of the exhibition or through the wall of solidarity (similar to a visual open mike).

Myna Mukherjee adds “We wanted the art to instigate, and provoke reactions.The goal was to create an immersive, interactive environment for the audience that would dissolve the distance between viewer and the artwork that typically exists in a static museum or white cube (typical, sanitized) gallery display. Rather, we wanted to challenge and re-invent the gallery environment and create a broader sensory experience where the audience would become an integrated part of the 'live'  installation.


Most importantly we wanted the art work to generate 'empathy'. It would be impossible to achieve without the live element to it”.

 “Art and artists have a history of dealing with contemporary issues. RESIST is their chance to exhibit their views against gender violence and inequality,” adds Myna Mukherjee, the curator of RESIST.  

In the wake of the protests against the recent brutalization of a young student in Delhi, “RESIST” will feature works built around the idea that “the personal is the political” — the notion that personal revelation through art can be a political tool.

Art is the only permanent resistance.” This anonymous quote forms the backbone for RESIST

— a first-of-its-kind temporal art intervention and protest that will bring together artists, musicians and fashion designers who through their works will illustrate conscience and dissent against gender-based violence and injustice.

The event will feature both mainstream as well as alternative-underground art work — from new media and art installations by well-known names like , Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Alex Davis Anupam Sud,Gigi Scaria, Baaraan Ijlal,Balbir Krishan, Gauri Gill,Ram Rahman, Satyakam Saha, Durga Kainthola, Ritu Kamath, Saba Hasan, Anil Bakshi, Bani Pershad,K.K Raghava, Adil Khan,Ivy Mondol,Suparna Mandal,Shanti Brinda,Raqs Media Collective, Puneet Kaushik, A.V.Ilango, Biswajit Balasubramanian, Shalini Biswajit

Myna speaks about the need for art to speak to contemporary times, “The idea of art that stimulates conversation is significant in the times that we live in. Not everyone is in a position to protest, but artists soak it all in and portray it in their work so that art makes you feel and sometimes tells you what you have been thinking. A political lens for approaching art is thus extremely significant.”

Gallery Engendered is a transnational arts and human rights organization that brings together the best in contemporary South Asian cinema, visual arts and performance to explore the complex realities of gender and sexuality in modern South Asia, especially at the intersection of ritual and religion.

Engendered is designed not only to raise awareness, but also act as a fulcrum to enter public dialogue, break silences and impact perceptions around issues of gendered identities, stereotyping, bias and sexual choice and further, how those issues relate to affirmation or violations of human rights, health rights and women's rights

PERFORMANCE ART 

UPROOT

Some reflections on what grows, thins and ages no matter what...

A live art installation conceived by Anita Ratnam created and performed at FORUM ART GALLERY, Chennai on April 15, 2013 as part of RESIST, a feminist response to violence towards women.

This performance art- live installation is a response to the larger canvas of anger, hatred and lack of empathy towards women in India. Through time a woman’s hair has been combed, twisted, yanked, oiled, coiffed, shaved, coloured, braided, infected, decorated, praised, coveted and the protagonist of many poems and paintings. Using metaphors and suggested movements in stark contrasts and opposition, UPROOT seeks to remind us all about that one physical element  that has been transformed through time as the object of envy, hatred, disgust and admiration. What are the symbols and hidden metaphors that a woman’s hair represents and what are the myriad ways in which view, value and comment on a woman’s place in society through her tresses.

 

Music - Live performance by SPACE – a contemporary band

Tritha  Sinha  along with Ritika Singh, artists with the band named SPACE initiated a project three years back in Calcutta of using music as a platform of talking about women’s rights. The band performs a wide array of genres: Indian classical, pop and hip-hop.

Fashion Installations

 

 “At Engendered we like to use popular culture subversively. Hence Fashion. Because 'fashion' has its roots in art, is immensely popular but is also populated with enough criticism around its 'superficial' and 'frivolous' commercial dimensions. Using fashion as a political tool was very exciting for us. Also, pairing every fashion garment and designer with an artist helped us focus back on fashion's creative roots during the collaborations”.says Myna

Every installation metaphor was taken from popular culture or from real life situations I experienced in my past one year as an NRI returned.


Content of two of the fashion installations on view

'Between the altar and the butcher:
Meat' is the name of one of the  installation. Fairly obvious - the reference to the altar has to do with the deification of women and pedestalising them to the point that they can do nothing but fall. And the reference to meat has to do with the alarming rise of sexual objectification of women in popular culture and imagination. Male sexual harassment is a form of  a patriarchal terrorism ingrained  in our society, as a way of displaying masculinity almost.  Women are treated like meat, they have little to no agency and even in upwardly social strata are at best objects that are desirable to look at.

'Painted and Dented and Ready' -

clearly taking on the absurdist and insulting statement recently made by the President's son. The installation was conceptualized with Alex Davis's automative paint on steel sculpture series inspired by truck art titled 'Dented, Painted'. We wanted fashionable women who would own their bodies, desires and flamboyantly celebrate them.

 

Wall of Solidarity

RESIST  is the first of its kind art protest and intervention in India and definitely Chennai. The artist community from Chennai too has also been roped in to contribute small format 1 x 1 feet artwork  to the Wall of Solidarity, a collection of artwork by artists from all over India. The artists have reacted in their own way to the underlying sentiment of RESIST in support of gender inequalities and injustice against women.

 

Expanding the boundaries of art to include fashion, new media, performance and music, its a call for art to be connected to the community and an opportunity for the Chennai audience to interact and react.

“RESIST was  held on February 2 at Gallery Engendered Space, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi and will travel to Chennai at Forum Art Gallery from April 15 to 19 and Mumbai at Gallery Beyond.

 

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RESIST

Initiated by Gallery Engendered New Delhi, and presented at Forum Art Gallery “RESIST”is a temporal art intervention & protest illustrating conscience and dissent against gender based violence and injustice