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Art from India tells stories in Helsinki

By Riia Järvenpää, March 2011

Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra: Life Cycle 1 (2006)
Everyday items are sucked into the cycle of reincarnation in the work of Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra.

India is in the midst of changes: traditions and power structures are being questioned and finding new forms of expression. In Concurrent India at Helsinki Art Museum Tennis Palace, 19 contemporary Indian artists tell their own version of the story, resulting in original, sometimes wildly reactive art.

Indian contemporary art forms a hot topic in the international art world. Drawing from both the ancient southern Asian cultural legacy and Western modern art, the artists comment on contemporary issues via painting, photography and video.

Concurrent India illustrates complex realities with visual, emotionally appealing narratives. And in India, there is a lot to tell, ranging from mythological epics to tragedies of the partition between India and Pakistan, not to mention contemporary issues such as marriage in the age of internet and global migration.

A key exhibition theme is comment on the changes currently taking place in South Asia: economic growth, urbanisation and global migration are creating tensions as promises of equality take a crash course with economic and social realities.

Traditions are being expressed in new ways: marriages are now arranged on internet forums and mythological icons are deployed by the mass media. The art itself is infused with rich cultural references as everyday items are given new uses, communicating serious messages.

Concurrent India tackles serious subjects, but with a humorous, positive visual vocabulary. The art mirrors the lives of people in India: contradictory things can coexist, assimilated into one another.

Concurrent India at Helsinki Art Museum Tennis Palace
until May 29, 2011


Concurrent India, selected works


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