, Samanta Batra Mehta
, Savia Mahajan06 June - 10 August, 2019
The team at TARQ is thrilled to present Osmosis—a group exhibition of artists Rithika Merchant, Samanta Batra Mehta, and Savia Mahajan, curated by Shaleen Wadhwana. The exhibition, which is a result of months of conversations between the artists and the curator, works with the ideas and the knowledge of the symbiotic universal truths of life, namely death, distance and belonging – which are beautifully articulated in a catalogue essay.
Wadhwana says,”Looking at different artists’ practises, one often studies their points of intersection to understand where, and if, they meet. Recording collected histories, myths and stories, through mark making with pigment and ink, is where the practises of Savia, Rithika and Samanta form a conjoined language. They lend the viewer an insight into their ideas of how they feel at ‘home’ and their phoenix-like acceptance: that new life arises on the ashes of its predecessor.”
In the exhibition, Wadhwana explores how each of the artists decodes the cyclical processes of life and death while unpacking an understanding of what distance and belonging mean. The artists investigate these ideas in their works, through interactions with nature, politics, culture, society, religion, history and geography. Each floor of TARQ has been envisioned as a point of thematic intersection between the artists’ practises, through their use of mediums; all three engage intensely with drawing. While Rithika Merchant and Samanta Batra Mehta incorporate layering in their two dimensional works, Savia Mahajan and Samanta Batra Mehta work with three dimensional found objects, with Mahajan specifically engaging deeply with ceramic. This immersive display invites the viewers to place themselves at crossroads of three diverse artists’ practises and take a pause to reflect on their ‘osmotic’ ideas.
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Access For All initiative, they are the Accessibility Consultant for Osmosis.
About the Curator
Shaleen Wadhwana (b. 1991) received a BA History (Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi) and MA Art History and Archaeology (SOAS, London), and has academic expertise in Art Appreciation (National Museum Institute, Delhi). She is a recipient of the Scholarship of Excellence for Cultural Heritage Law (University of Geneva) and is a Young India Fellow (Ashoka University). She has presented her academic research on embedded histories in objects looted during the 1857 Mutiny at University College London. She has previously worked in museums and galleries like the Heritage Transport Museum, Haryana and Chemould Prescott Road Gallery, Mumbai. Shaleen curates art and heritage based experiences for a wide spectrum of audiences. These range from universities like Michigan, Harvard, and IISER to NGOs like Slam Out Loud, and the Government of Maharashtra. She has recently co-authored an article for the Ministry of External Affairs of India about the impact of the Lodi Art District on its nearby communities.
Presently, she is a visiting faculty at the Design Management Department of MIT Institute of Design, Pune and the Humanities curriculum designer for their Innovation programme. Osmosis marks the beginning of her curatorial journey, the idea of which was born in her classroom in Pune.
About Access For ALL
Access For ALL provides all formats of accessibility solutions. They aim at pushing the boundaries of physical, intellectual and social access through innovative, indigenous design and advocacy while fostering an INCLUSIVE experiential culture. The team focuses on access audits, universal - design, interpretation & educational activities, inclusive outreach programs, sensitization & awareness workshops, Braille-tactile kits, Braille books and CSR based engagement programs.
They have worked with the India Art Fair, Kochi Muziris Biennale, Serendipity Arts Festival, National Museum, UNESCO New Delhi, City Palace Jaipur, Malaysia - Sarawak Public Library, Mehrangarh Fort, and corporate CSR projects with Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered and other companies.AFA has undertaken projects in India, Malaysia, China, Pakistan and are keen on sharing their knowledge and growing a network of cultural accessibility in South Asian and African countries. Access For ALL was recently invited to represent Asia in Madrid for an International Congress on Museums, Arts and Accessibility. Access For All is one of India's first social enterprises to receive Nipman Foundation MICROSOFT Equal Opportunity Award 2018 under Enabler segments.
Rithika Merchant (b. 1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons - The New School of Design, New York (2008). Since graduating, she has exhibited her work extensively, including a number of solo exhibitions in India, Spain, Germany, France and the United States.
Her most recent solo shows include Where the Water Takes us at TARQ, Mumbai (2017); Ancestral Home at Galeria Bien Cuadrado, Barcelona (2017); Intersections at Galeria Combustion Espontanea, Madrid (2016); Luna Tabulatorum at Stephen Romano Gallery, New York (2015); and Encyclopedia of the Strange at Tiny Griffon Gallery, Nuremberg (2014).
Her recent group exhibitions include Spring! A Group Show of Contemporary Drawing at Galerie LJ, Paris (2019); Homo Faber at The Michaelangelo Foundation, Venice ( 2018) ; Portal at October Gallery, London (2018); Sensorium / The End Is Only The Beginning Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts, Goa (2018); This Burning Land Belongs To You at the Swiss Cottage Gallery, London (presented by TARQ for Camden Kala, UK/ India Year of Culture 2017); Language of the Birds: Occult and Art at 80WSE Gallery, New York (2016); and a two-person show, Reliquaries: The Remembered Self at TARQ, Mumbai (2015). Her work has also been included in group shows at The New Gallery, Calgary (2017); Summerhall, Edinburgh (2015) and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York (2015).
She has also collaborated with Chloé, a French fashion house on multiple collections for which she was awarded the Vogue India Young Achiever of the Year Award at its Women of the Year Awards 2018. She was also named one of Vogue Magazine’s Vogue World 100 Creative Voices.
She currently divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Samanta Batra Mehta's work has been exhibited at various international venues including at the Queens Museum of the Arts, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Aicon Gallery and Saffronart in New York, the Hunterdon Museum and the Visual Arts Center, New Jersey, the Taubman Museum of Art, Virgina and the NIU Museum, Illinois, Fondazione Fotographia, Modena and Artopia, Milan.
She has had solo exhibitions at Shrine Empire, Delhi, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai and at Art Basel Hong Kong in the ‘Discoveries’ section. Her first solo exhibition in 2014, ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, with Shrine Empire, New Delhi was nominated for the Forbes India Art Award in the ‘Best Debut Solo’ category. She has participated in several group exhibitions throughout India including at Bodhi Art Gallery, Gallery BMB, Gallery OED, Gallery Sumukha and Tarq in Mumbai. In 2014, Samanta’s work was included in the ‘Reading Room’, a partner exhibition at the Kochi Biennale 2014.
Her work has been showcased at leading art fairs such as at Art Basel, Hong Kong, Art Dubai, India Art Fair, Bologna Arte Fiere, and Salon Du Dessin Contemporain at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris where she was invited to make a large site-specific mural. Samanta is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation's 2014-2015 Painters & Sculptors Grant Award in the US. She was shortlisted for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2017. Her works are included in several collections in India and abroad including at Fondazione Fotografia Cassa di Risparmio di Modena in Italy, the RPG Group, the Jindal Collection, Birla Art Foundation, among others.
Born in New Delhi, the artist currently lives and works in New York
Savia Mahajan began her formal artistic training in her home city of Mumbai, at the L.S. Raheja School of Art. Though she trained as a painter, since 2010, Savia’s practice began moving away from the medium of painting, towards ceramics. The transition was the result of a “relinquishing of traditional art mediums (and) a deeper inquiry about practice.” She has since, worked extensively at a local pottery studio in Mumbai, which has given her the space to experiment and develop many of her ceramic processes and techniques.
These developments in Savia’s practice resulted in Liminal—her first solo exhibition at TARQ in September, 2017. This was followed by a landmark group exhibition—Mutable: Ceramics and Clay Art in India Since 1947, curated by Dr. Annapurna Garimella and Sindhura D.M. at the Piramal Art Foundation, Mumbai.
Savia has recently been a part of several projects including solo project Resurgō at TARQ’s booth, Art Basel, Hong Kong (2019); and group presentations including the Second Edition of The Sculpture Park, The Madhvendra Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur, curated by Peter Nagy (2018-19) and the Indian Ceramics Triennale, Jaipur, (2018).
Savia lives in Mumbai and works in a Ceramic studio consisting of a gas kiln which she set up in an Industrial space in Mumbai, 2018.