The sense of an ending: Interpreting death through art

  • Arundhati Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2015 16:30 IST

The thought of a group of artists discussing death may seem morbid. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be so. An upcoming group exhibition, Memento Mori, showcases works by nine artists, all of whom have tried to interpret death in their own way.

“The inevitable sense of loss and nostalgia of what once was, and the need to archive, is what ties the approach of these artists together,” says Hena Kapadia, curator of the show.

In the making for the past several months, Memento Mori features 16 creations across mediums such as paintings, installations and photographs. Photographs by one of the lensmen, Zishaan Akbar Latif, come from a series of memoir-like frames that he shot in an attempt to capture on camera his relationship with his grandfather.

'Freedom' by Zishaan Akbar Latif.

Another photographer, Clare Arni’s frames are part of her larger series, Disappearing Professions Of Urban India. “The intention of the works is to explore the historical patterns of vanishing professions, and their attempts to adapt to survive. Many of the skilled artisans documented were struggling, and in all probability, their children were not going to follow them into the profession,” says Arni.

Claire Arni's Dasgupta And Company Pvt Ltd., print on Hahnemule photo rag white paper, 2008.

She has taken photographs over several years across Indian cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Kolkata to explore the changing employment opportunities over the decades, and how some jobs are on the verge of becoming obsolete.

Speaking about the diverse nature of these interpretations, Kapadia points out, “As the name suggests, the exhibition intends to remind viewers of their mortality, and of the brevity and fragility of human lives. But in many senses, it’s much more than just that. It’s about changing opportunities, the old making way for the new, and the power and loss of the environment, especially in the Western Ghats.”

Memento Mori will be on display from June 12 to June 24, at Tarq, Colaba from 11am to 7pm.

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