Home and belonging are the themes of this Mumbai exhibition
Where is home? is one of the biggest questions in a world grappling with urbanisation, migration, environmental displacement and refugee crises. At no point in human history have these many people moved this far across the globe, acquiring something from a new space, leaving behind some of themselves. At the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, a group show Beyond Transnationalism aims to document and address that question.
The exhibition, curated by Arshiya Lokhandwala, features works of artists from Indian, Pakistani and Afghanistani origin, now living in the US. It explores the broad ideas of transnational, Diaspora, being the other and belonging.
Zarina Hashmi’s work is simply titled Home is a Foreign Place. “I understood from an early age that home is not necessarily a permanent place,” she says. “It is an idea we carry with us wherever we go. We are our homes.”
She jotted down a list of Urdu words that she considered important: axis, distance, road and wall. These were sent to a calligrapher in Pakistan who wrote these in the traditional Nastaliq script. Back in her studio in New York, Zarina developed what she describes as idea-images, which flowed from these words. 36 woodcuts on paper make for the entire work.
“When I went to the US in November, for the show, there was almost this hostility where artists did not want to be diasporic,” says Lokhandwala. “They don’t want to be known as artists of Indian origin. They want to be multi-local. They have an India connect, but also a US connection. The exhibition is looking for new articulation.”
Jaret Vadera presents No Country, a world map with the name of every country covered by black blanks of various lengths. In his video work On Kings and Elephants, a robotic voice narrates different English translations of the story of four blind men and an elephant.