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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Five women artists to display art on identity, body politics in Jamia Nagar

Curated by Delhi-based artist Rabab Zaidi, the exhibition, Green Shoots in the Neighbourhood, aims to allow the marginalised to express their voices through art

delhi Updated: Aug 26, 2019 07:41 IST
Kainat Sarfaraz
Kainat Sarfaraz
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Chander said it was a good move to bring the art scene to Jamia, since the public may not be open to going to mainstream galleries.
Chander said it was a good move to bring the art scene to Jamia, since the public may not be open to going to mainstream galleries. (Rabab Zaidi/Instagram)
         

To break the dominant narrative surrounding Jamia Nagar, five aspiring women artists will be displaying their artwork on identity, body politics, and media in the narrow bylanes of Ghaffar Manzil till the end of this month.

Curated by Delhi-based artist Rabab Zaidi, the exhibition Green Shoots in the Neighbourhood aims to “create windows in the walls of the ghetto” and allow marginalised communities to express their voices through art.

“This is also an effort to change the perception of the neighbourhood,” Zaidi, who turned her childhood home in Jamia into the Centre for Art and Free Expression (CAFE) two years ago, said. The centre is hosting the exhibition. CAFE aims to become a cultural centre that draws Muslims and other marginalised artists to freely express their talents.

The artists are Kulsoom Khan and Kauser Jahan—who are studying at Faculty of Fine Arts in Jamia Millia Islamia—and Sitara Khan, Reshma Khatoon, and Tehmeena Firdos, who are its alumnae. On Saturday, the first day of the exhibition, the artists talked about their work to a motley group of people, including eminent artist Kanchan Chander.

“Unlike other exhibitions, no one interrupted or confined us here to certain topics. It was our call. Besides, the intersectionality drew us to the place. There is no other space in Jamia for free creative expression, especially for Muslim women,” Jahan, a postgraduate student, said. Her work revolves around digital identities and media.

Talking about her exhibit, titled Ignorance, which has two aluminium ears chained to each other, Jahan said, “There is a difference between listening and hearing. Be it climate change or atrocities against minorities, we hear about things happening around us but many choose to remain ignorant. My work depicts that.”

“It helps to hold such exhibitions in areas such as Jamia Nagar since they create awareness among the community about arts and culture. The fine arts often don’t find a mention in career counselling sessions. The locality might warm up to the idea of their children pursuing arts,” she said.

Reshma Khatoon, who hails from West Bengal and graduated last year from Jamia, said her work mostly revolves around how she sees women back home struggling to pursue their talents.

“Even the higher education of women there is linked to getting better marriage proposals. Women are usually not allowed to work after the wedding. Through my work, I want to throw light on that,” she said. One of her paintings shows a woman with several hands pushing the walls of the room where she is standing.

“It takes a lot for women to push through and extend their boundaries,” she said, explaining the concept.

Chander said it was a good move to bring the art scene to Jamia, since the public may not be open to going to mainstream galleries.

“It can also be a space for young artists to approach us and talk about their work,” she said.

First Published: Aug 26, 2019 03:06 IST