The team at TARQ is excited to announce the exhibition, Shifting Selves, in collaboration with the Sarmaya Arts Foundation. Shifting Selves employs the practices of Saju Kunhan, Saubiya Chasmawala and Rithika Merchant as catalysts to examine Sarmaya's collection.
Ordinary routines, simple certainties, the invisible cogs that moved us further along a road we called progress—they all tilted out of reach this past year. Navigating a storm of doubts, we sought an anchoring in the terra firma of identity and home. In charting these inner terrains, we were free to investigate like artists do, because what is art but the practice of getting comfortable with uncertainty. Of steadying the hand by turning the gaze inwards. To the ever-changing consciousness we call the self.
Perpetually in negotiation with itself, this consciousness thrives in the liminal spaces between binaries and it flourishes in the art of Saju Kunhan, Saubiya Chasmawala and Rithika Merchant. By expressing their deep dissonance with a world eager to return to business as usual, they show us how we may stay a bit longer in the clarifying light of this in-between time.
A negotiation is clearly visible in Saju Kunhan’s Clouds over a landscape in which he engages with the subjectivity of maps as history-making devices. Kunhan reconstructs boundaries, walking in the shoes of the archivist himself. Image-transfer from paper to wood allows room for accidents, mistranslations and incompleteness. Saubiya Chasmawala articulates her identity by capturing a conflict with its markers, particularly photography and calligraphy in her series of Untitled works. She morphs visuals and alters contexts to challenge authority and ideas of ownership. Through these reinterpretations, Chasmawala studies the human instinct for meaning-making. Evoking a collective consciousness, Rithika Merchant’s work brings this show full circle. Birth of a New World subverts tropes in the realm of mythology, even as it plays witness to the profound, troubling changes in our cultural, political and natural landscapes.
We anchor our inquisitions in the work of these three artists and, through them, we examine the rest of Sarmaya’s collection to spark dialogues that transcend epochs and mediums. In doing so, Shifting Selves invites you to stand at the crossroads of the self and let go of the familiar in exchange for a moment of the remarkable.