Sohrab Hura, The Lost Head and the Bird, 2016-2019. Video, colour, sound; music performed live by Hannes d'Hoine (Electronic) & Sjoerd Bruil (Guitar). Performance curated and produced by Wendy Marijnissen / Bending the Frame. 10 min. 13 sec., variable loop. Courtesy of the artist.
The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery presents Constitutions, an exhibition curated by Swapnaa Tamhane that brings together the work of five artists of India. The exhibition considers escape routes and ensnarements of the body within the state — a condition amplified by the pandemic.
In 2022, India will celebrate 75 years of decolonization. In the process of writing the Constitution of India between 1949 and 1950, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, chairman of the committee, was adamant to include an article outlawing discrimination against what he termed the “Untouchables of India,” or those who fell out of the four castes as determined by the ancient law book, the Manusmriti. Yet, caste apartheid and violence against women in particular take place over and over again without repercussions in a country that is becoming subsumed into Hindutva or Hindu nationalism, contrary to the secular state it was founded as.
The five artists, Rajyashri Goody, Sohrab Hura, Sajan Mani, Prajakta Potnis and Birender Yadav, are all from a similar generation. They address and complicate the oppressive social hierarchy of caste discrimination, politics of labour and the post-truth state. In their works, there are threads of poetry and literature, a sensation of disembodiment, the transition of body to tool, and the representation of what the body retains, absorbs and discards.