South Asian contemporary art scene: Five artists to watch

PAKISTAN INDIA SOUTH ASIA CONTEMPORARY ART EMERGING ARTISTS

Looking for new names in the South Asian art world? Deepika Sorabjee, writing for CNN Go, has profiled five emerging artists from India and Pakistan whose works were recently on display in Mumbai galleries.

There were blockbuster art shows this year; Nilima Sheikh’s tour de force at Chemould Prescott Road followed by Nalini Malani’s two-gallery show and finally Anish Kapoor’s first ever showing in India. But it’s a set of young artists from India and Pakistan who closed out the first decade of the new millennium with their fresh approach to art. Deepika Sorabjee | CNN Go

The five artists are:

1. Bani Abidi (Pakistan, 1971)
2. Prashant Pandey (India, 1984)
3. Waqas Khan (Pakistan)
4. Ritesh Meshram (India, 1975)
5. C K Rajan (India, 1960)

Bani Abidi

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Bani Abidi studied at the National College of Arts in Lahore before travelling to the United States for her MFA at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, which she received in 1999.

Her show in September 2010 at Project 88, titled “Section Yellow”, featured folders hanging in the mid-space of a series of frames, creating a visual spectacle of a fluid, floating line of varying thickness and colour. The video work Distance From Here displays vivid scenes taken from everyday life with people lining up at a legal documentation centre and going through security checks. Taken together, the works in the show are about people travelling and demonstrates the emotions of both anxiety and anticipation.

Abidi’s works have featured in international exhibitions including, most recently, the 7th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea (2008). She has put on solo shows in various cities, from her hometown Karachi (2006) to London (2008), Toronto (2007), and San Francisco (2006).

Installation shot, Project 88, Mumbai. Image courtesy of http://www.baniabidi.com.

Installation shot, Project 88, Mumbai. Image courtesy baniabidi.com.

Bani Abidi, 'Distance From Here', video still. Image courtesy of http://www.baniabidi.com.

Bani Abidi, 'Distance From Here', video still. Image courtesy baniabidi.com.

Prashant Pandey with 'Universe', 2010, used cigarette butts, wood, thread, 64" x 64".

Prashant Pandey with 'Universe', 2010, used cigarette butts, wood, thread, 64" x 64".

Prashant Pandey

A young artist, born in 1984, Prashant Pandey rose rapidly to fame in the art world with his first solo exhibition held at Gallery Maskara in India last September. Titled “Shelf-Life”, the show featured meticulously crafted pieces that make use of unconventional materials: cigarette butts, expired chocolate, cobwebs, shredded banknotes and sugarcane bargasse.

The piece Gift, in the striking form of a human skull, uses formaldehyde and iron but also, as stated by the artist, “urine, blood, and tears.”

Pandey gained his MFA in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University, Baroda in 2010. His talent was immediately recognised at the final year’s student show, in which his work won him a residency at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He obtained his BFA in Sculpture at Rajasthan University, Jaipur in 2007.

Prashant Pandey, 'Gift', 2010, urine, sweat, tears, formaldehyde and iron, 43 x 74 x 90 inches. Image courtesy of Gallery Maskara.

Prashant Pandey, 'Gift', 2010, urine, sweat, tears, formaldehyde and iron, 43 x 74 x 90 inches. Image courtesy of Gallery Maskara.

Prashant Pandey, 'The Red', 2010, blood slides, cobwebs and iron, 18 x 11 x 1 inches. Image courtesy of Gallery Maskara.

Prashant Pandey, 'The Red', 2010, blood slides, cobwebs and iron, 18 x 11 x 1 inches. Image courtesy of Gallery Maskara.

Prashant Pandey, 'Untitled', 2010, expired chocolate and stainless steel, 24 x 12 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of Gallery Maskara.

Prashant Pandey, 'Untitled', 2010, expired chocolate and stainless steel, 24 x 12 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of Gallery Maskara.

Waqas Khan

Trained in the Miniature style at the Lahore Art School, Waqas Khan is skilled in the art of printmaking and pointillism, using small dots to build up forms and shapes that seem to extend infinitely.

His exhibition at Lakeeren, a contemporary art gallery in Mumbai, wowed viewers with the artist’s delicate and thought-provoking creations. Titled “Even Infinity Takes Time“, the monographic exhibition demonstrated the artist’s creative engagement with the Sufist tradition and with sacred geometry.

Khan’s art has been reported on in Pakistani newspapers like the Daily Times. His first solo show, according to an article by the Art Grid, a blog reporting on Pakistan’s art scene, was held at the Rohtas Gallery in Lahore, followed by his second show at the Canvas Gallery, Karachi.

Waqas Khan, 'Dit Series', 2009, ink on wasli, 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Image courtesy of Canvas Gallery's public gallery.

Waqas Khan, 'Dit Series', 2009, ink on wasli, 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Image courtesy of Canvas Gallery's public gallery.

Waqas Khan, 'My World', 2009, ink on wasli and perforation, 20 x 26 inches. Image courtesy of Canvas Gallery's public gallery.

Waqas Khan, 'My World', 2009, ink on wasli and perforation, 20 x 26 inches. Image courtesy of Canvas Gallery's public gallery.

Ritesh Meshram

Ritesh Meshram. Image courtesy of Chemould Prescott Road.

Ritesh Meshram. Image courtesy of Chemould Prescott Road.

Ritesh Meshram studied Fine Arts at Indira kala sangeet vishwavidyalay. He exhibited at Chemould Prescott Road in June. Sorabjee had the following to say about his work:

Using found objects and the titles of books he bought second hand, the artist weaves not a narrative but a tiny thought that the viewer can but need not connect with. The artworks are arresting by themselves and should start a conversation regardless.

For more information on Meshram visit the Chemould Prescott Road website.

Ritesh Meshram, 'Untitled', 2010, installation with motor and sound. Image courtesy of Chemould Prescott Road.

Ritesh Meshram, 'Untitled', 2010, installation with motor and sound. Image courtesy of Chemould Prescott Road.

C K Rajan

Rajan studied Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University. He received his M.A at the University of Hyderabad. He is better known for his collages, in which he “responds to a visual world that seems to have become unreadable.” His exhibition “Mad Furnitures and Psychic Objects”, featured everyday objects that have been malformed or extorted to give them “personalities of their own.”

For more information on Rajan visit the website of Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke.

C K Rajan, 'Restless Iron Box', 2010, wood and iron, 21.5 x 22.5 cm. Image courtesy of Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinrucke.

C K Rajan, 'Restless Iron Box', 2010, wood and iron, 21.5 x 22.5 cm. Image courtesy of Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinrucke.

C K Rajan, 'Time Running Out', 2010, wood, glass and iron 78.5 x 205 cm. Image courtesy of Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinrucke.

C K Rajan, 'Time Running Out', 2010, wood, glass and iron 78.5 x 205 cm. Image courtesy of Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinrucke.

KK/KN/HH

Related Topics: Indian artists, Pakistani artists, emerging artists

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