Review by Amrita Varma
August 10, 2014


Delineating Memories : Artistic exploration of the Mundane
Simran Mehra Agarwal, Gazi Nafis Ahmed, Noorali Chagani, Simeen Farhat, Sharmishta Kar, Martand Khosla, Pala Pohtu and M Pravat
July 18-August 5, 2014
Exhibit 320, New Delhi

This show feels a little to close to home even though the perspectives are varied from artists from the countries in the subcontinent. It is almost as if you have experienced every facet of each image. The visuals involve an entrapment into the very essence of social and historical context where the personal has been weaved into the collective process of thought making and memory. 

The show is an open-ended discussion into what was and can be within the society we live in in a very personal way. Gazi Nafis Ahmed talks of the old Dhaka of his memory fused with the present through his interestingly raw photographs where the subject and visual seem to mimic one another and speak of a way of life which is here at the moment in full form from a past which was exuberant. 

Noor Ali Chagani has outdone himself with his work titled ‘The Wall’ with its associations of the native land and home and the idea of the instruction, almost poster like, written in Urdu, asking for all to refrain for pasting posters. The humour catches you as do the connotations of lives lived within and around those walls. His associations of creating boundaries through the red bricks are at the same time paradoxically merging the various boxed in categories through the jumble of poster marks left on rearranged bricks of ‘Boundaries’. There is a presence of those writings where an effort has been taken to erase  the phrase written on the wall with black marks. The ‘Absence’ shows a presence lingering behind it. 

Simeen Farhat’s exploration of life through her three dimensional exploration of a calligraphic phrase delicately flows out and engages the collective memory while  Sharmishtha Kar’s ‘blurred steps’ of textual memory and visuals on cloth take you to a playful past in the very present. In both works there is integrity with the visual association of the text and its composition, in Sharmishta’s case with embroidered visuals. Definitely, one of the more subtle and interesting works on exhibit. 

M. Pravat’s imaginary architectural sketches and its associated images are playful yet open a dialogue on identity of space in memory and now, while Simran Mehra Aggarwal’s light boxes evoke a sense of a derelict grandeur of a past gone by with its remains of the beautifully silent shadows coming through slits of iron meshes ,the stone jallies and lanterns painted on canvas. 

Martand Khosla is someone who has been able to translate his keen associations of the connection with the making of buildings, home and hearth at the hands of the labour which though unrecognized,  is seminal to the very visualization of homes. Through its  very making with the red brick which touches their hands and motivates a construction life and meaning are injected into the red brick which is otherwise just hardened earth. His use of brick powder through which he makes his visuals seem a parallel process redefining and bringing to light that collective memory. 


A show worth seeing for its personal  social and historical associations and an open dialogue with it, ‘Delineating Memories’ is an exhibit which invites engagement with your aesthetic and mental space.