Culture / Art Republik

Asia Society Museum, New York presents “Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in Diaspora”

The ensemble of artists will address hot-button issues of territory, migration, gender, race, and memory

May 16, 2017 | By AFP Relaxnews

Allan deSouza, ‘Rumpty-Tumpty Series #5–7,’ 1997/2017. Digital prints from film

The Asia Society Museum presents traditional, modern, and contemporary exhibitions of Asian and Asian-American art, by both known and under-recognized artists. Founded in 1956, it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational institution headquartered in New York, with additional gallery spaces in Hong Kong and Houston. For their 70th anniversary, the Asia Society Museum will shine the spotlight on the works of 19 South Asian contemporary artists in “Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in Diaspora,” opening on June 27.

Timed with the 70th anniversary of the Indian Subcontinent’s independence from the British Empire, this exhibition—proposed by the founder of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, Jaishri Abichandani—celebrates diversity in theme and in media. In the context of a globally-occurring rise in nationalism and xenophobia, these artists wrestle with stereotypes and cultural assumptions, across photography, sculpture, and video to address issues in the current socio-political climate.

“The work of diasporic artists working and living between worlds has taken on a new urgency in counterbalancing the retreat into simplistic identity politics,” said Boon Hui Tan, Asia Society Vice President for Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum, in a statement.

Khalil Chishtee, Study for ‘History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake II,’ 2017.

The artists, all living within the United States, represent a slice of the American experience while also drawing from non-American cultural tropes. The selection of artists reflects South Asia‘s diverse demographics. The exhibition includes Pakistani-born artists (Khalil Chishtee, Shahzia Sikander, Ruby Chishti, Anila Quayyum Agha); Indian-born artists (Jaishri Abichandani, Rina Banerjee, Kanishka Raja, Zarina); as well as artists born in Kenya and Nepal. Each work engages with the specificities of these native and regularly travelled to regions.

A two-day symposium titled ” Fatal Love: Where Are We Now” organised in conjunction with the exhibition will gather South Asian American artists, curators, and academics for discussions and strategies about visibility, to be held at the Queens Museum on July 1 and 2.

“Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art” in the Diaspora will be on view from June 27 to August 6 2017. For more information, do visit the Asia Society Museum.