The Indo-Polish Art Projects

Vidhya Jinesh | Jan 01, 2015 | Vol. 7, Issue 1
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An exhibition and residency project named 'Critical Juncture', an artistic expression of Indian and Polish artists on the contemporary socio-political issues of the two countries is being organized as a collateral event of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Venue: Yousuf Building, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kochi-682002, Kerala(India)  Date: 12 December 2014 to 20 February 2015, Entry: Free.

An exhibition and residency project  named “Critical Juncture” is being organized as a collateral event of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale from 12 December 2014 to 20 February 2015.This artist-led venture  intends to be a platform for the for artistic expression of Indian and Polish artists on the contemporary socio-political issues of the two countries. India, especially Kerala and Poland are two land territories where the development of the socio–cultural organizations are influenced to a great extend by the vibrancy and philosophies of communism. Striding on this thread, the participating artists of Critical Juncture will showcase a poignant exploration of the changes occurring in the socio-political scenes of the two countries. The venue for the exhibition is inside a former spice warehouse in Jew Town, Mattanchery. Critical Juncture was initiated and curated by Indian curator Neelima Jaychandran and UK-based Polish artist-curator Magda Fabiańczyk with conceptual advice from Alicja Rogalska.

The residency of the artists, formalized seminars and workshops in the University, and interactive sessions with people, provide the artists with enriched experience to explore the social and cultural intricacies of the local people and opens up new avenues for future collaborations between the two countries.   “For all the projects, we have been talking to the elders of the community, collecting the histories, memories and the knowledge of whatever they know about the culture of the Kochi.” Neelima added.

The Artists & Projects

Magda's installation 'Where I Was Not' was realized   in collaboration with Roma community in Poland. It was manifested as a round table in the gallery space with carefully designed, inspired table cloth and the table being transformed as an informal meeting place for Roma community members and Polish people to resolve their problematic relationships. 

Joanna Rajkowska's work Oxygenator highlights the significance of interaction and togetherness in dissolving the barricades of social conventions. It is created as the form of a 140-square metre artificial pond equipped with air-ozonating and fog-creating equipment, surrounded by greenery. This is a live project built on Grzybowski Square in Warsaw, Poland. Videos and photo documentation of the project is displayed at this gallery. Polish artist Łukasz Surowiec depicts the socio-economic problems of mining workers through a series of coal sculptures named Black Diamonds. It forms an alternate source of income for the distressed mining people.  Alicja Rogalska's Dreamed Revolution video resurrecting the relevance of utopian thinking, Artur Żmijewski's work, Repetition and Julita Wójcik's Rainbow sculpture associate with LGBT rights are some other works. The rainbow is recreated in Jews street.

Street Side Reading: Don't talk about Poland is a collaborative reading performance, initiated by Sanchayan Ghosh, that will happen inside an old local teashop  and on the street in Jew Town area of Mattancherry. It brings about the reflections on the social life and art practice within the tea stalls of Kochi with hot debates on social –political issues among the workers   that occurred as a part of the daily morning news paper readings in the street corners in the past decades. Another artist Tushar Joag highlights the problems of self-organisation and labour invisibility. His work named is Washing D'Arty Linen and is conducted in collaboration with the local washers' co-operative Vannar Sangam.  Joag's project aims to raise funds to procure an industrial washing machine for the community to enhance their working and living standards.

While Sharmila Samant's installation The Kochi Weaves explores how the weaving community contributes to the cultural fabric of Kerala by weaving different colours, Dinesh Shenoy's work on the architectural drawings and paintings presents the cultural heritage of different communities that existed in Kochi and in his opinion the study of the buildings can reveal the intercultural exchanges of different communities. Cop Siva's work - Galaxy of Musicians deals with the issues of exclusion, both in the context of Kochi's multicultural past and the present. Through the work titled The Lungi Series artist Gopakumar acknowledges the contribution of the working class of rural Kerala.

Magda Fabiańczyk adds that, “All these process started months ago. So from one person we got contact to the other, like a chain. The other thing is that all of the artists make very particular type of arts, which is often produce in collaboration with the local communities. So they know how to talk and behave with the local people. So we can communicate them nice, they won't feel offended.  They feel they are equal partner.”

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