‘Landscape’- a noun, an adjective and a verb; approaches the visual artists in a way that is unlike its other connotations. Ranging from social, political, environmental to intensely emotional and psychological, a myriad of overtones are merged in today’s representation of the land.
‘A Portrait of the Land’ brings together distinct voices that, often in different pitches and scales articulate the nuances of human relationships with landscape. Positioning themselves politically, how do the artists select the vantage points from where they capture the landscape they intend to represent? How does memory become a guiding element in the process of exploring a landscape? In which ways do the artists respond to human interventions in the landscape through their choice of materials and mediums? – These are the questions lying at the very core of this collective search.
There is a commonality in the explorations of the artists as their works often stand at the intersection of a bygone era and a time that may unfold in the future; the complex, blurred area between memory and imagination. While Ghana Shyam Latua addresses the threats of reckless development plans and urbanisation in the cherished land of Khoai in Santiniketan, Meghna Patpatia takes a step further and imagines a dystopia that may await the living creatures. Pallov Saikia’s practice, on the other hand, is informed by a romanticised nostalgia for his lost home. His archive of memories is built on a complex relationship he shares with the Brahmaputra, the river that has devoured his birthplace.
For every individual, ‘home’ comes with different meanings and connotations. Leena Raj R rejects the socially defined idea of home and offers a more inclusive space with no rigid boundaries. Radiating with mysterious luminosity, her otherwise darkly-painted landscapes dream to relive the free-spirited life of the ancient humans.
Sujith S N’s landscapes, layered with memory, imagination, spirituality and concerns of present time, meaningfully contribute to the curatorial framework of this exhibition. And together the artists create a portrait of the land.