|Erasing Borders: Passport to Contemporary Indian Art of the diaspora 2009
|Theme and Focus
The exhibition, Erasing Borders: Passport to Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora explores the contributions of artists whose origins can be traced to the Indian Subcontinent. This will be IAAC's 6th annual Erasing Borders exhibition.
The first, 2004 Erasing Borders Exhibition, curated by Sundaram Tagore, was the first to focus solely on Indian diaspora artists. Due to its large success, the IAAC made it an annual exhibition. The last three exhibitions held in 2005, 2006 and 2007 were curated by Vijay Kumar.
20 million people of Indian origin shifted countries in 20th and 21st centuries. Implicit in the term diaspora are the concepts of change and adaptation. Cultural dislocation often produces unexpected and powerful results. Subject matter is often drawn from the country of origin, while many of the aesthetic values and political concerns come from the artists' newfound situations.
Many Indian artists went abroad after India's independence from British rule. These artists grappled with dual aesthetic concerns (modernity versus tradition), and with the complex issue of identity. The diaspora artists had to create an authentic artistic language possessing Indian aesthetic components in order to be taken seriously by critics, as well as reconcile the issues associated with being minorities. Today's diaspora artists are scattered across the country and more socio-economically and religiously diverse than their predecessors. These artists are working to make themselves heard in an art world that is at once more competitive and more receptive to non-Western art than ever before.
The artists in this exhibition will meld Indian and Western colors and forms in many media, namely painting, sculpture, and photography. They will also grapple with diverse subject matter, including: AIDS, poverty, identity as a South Asian living in the post-9/11 world, in addition to their religious, sexual, and ethnic identities.
Mission and Audience
The Indo-American Arts Council's mission is to promote and build the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication, performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America. IAAC's focus is to work with artists in North America as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work in the United States. This exhibition will promote and exhibit the work of artists from the Indian diasporic community. This exhibition will tour the NYC boroughs, the greater NYC area and other parts of the United States.
The demographic composition of the audience is diverse. Audience members range from gallery owners, private owners, media, youth, educators, artists, students, professionals, and general art appreciators. The audience will be South Asian and mainstream,: of various religions, sexual identities, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic, and age ranges.
Approximate Demographics to date:
Age: 16+, although we would be delighted to host younger members of the public.
Education: High School Students, Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, and Adults
Economic Background: Middle and Upper Classes. However, our aim is to attract people in every socio-ecomonic class.
Vijay Kumar has curated the 2nd , 3rd and 4th annual Erasing Borders exhibition in consultation with Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director of the IAAC.
Sundaram was the curator for the first IAAC Erasing Borders Exhibition in 2004. Sundaram Tagore is a NY-based curator and gallerist. A descendant of the Nobel Prize winning poet Rabinranath Tagore, he promotes East-West dialogues through his contributions to exhibitions as well as his gallery and its multicultural and multidisciplinary events. He curated many different exhibitions including the Promise of Modernism: Art in India 1847-1947, held at Dialectica, New York. In 1999, he was nominated by Avenue magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Asian-Americans in the United States. He has published articles in numerous magazines including ARTNews, Art & Antiques, Asian Arts News, and the Times of India. His recent activities include serving as a juror for the 2002 UNESCO Design 21 competition, and curating an exhibition at the Rye Art Center entitled Off Center: A selective exhibition of the Art of Modern India in 2003. Focused on developing exhibitions of intellectual rigor, he remains devoted to the pursuit of the convergence of Western and non-Western cultures.
Vijay Kumar has curated last three Erasing Borders Exhibitions. Vijay studied art at Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi, and at Pratt Graphics Center in NYC. He has showcased his drawings, prints and paintings in the U.S. and abroad. Vijay has worked extensively in printmaking techniques and currently teaches etching at Manhattan Graphics Center in NYC, where he was a founding member. His work is featured in many permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the New York Public Library (all in NYC), the William Benton Museum of Art in Storrs, Connecticut, the National Gallery of Art in New Delhi, and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK. In 2002, his work received the highest prize in an exhibition of prints by the Royal Society or Painters and Printmakers in London.
Last year, the Indo-American Arts Council received submissions from one hundred and fifty artists of Indian origin.. The curator selected work from among the submissions that would reflect the diversity of the diasporic Indian population in terms of religion, ethnicity, and intellectual predilections. Twenty-nine living artists were selected to exhibit their work. We expect to follow similar protocol this year for choosing artists who desire to be part of this exhibition. Artists benefit from being showcased to new audiences, of being able to sell their art directly to viewers, to talking about their art to varied audiences.
Curators are compensated thru in-kind donations of future invitations, honorariums, credit, and visibility.
The Indo-American Arts Council relies on corporate support, private family foundations, and individual donors. IAAC also relies on a bevy of volunteers and personal contacts to get alot of the work that goes into presenting an Exhibition.
Costs for the exhibition, including transportation of the artwork, insurance, gallery rental, advertising & publicity, opening and closing receptions, press packages, preparation, hanging of artwork, brochure design, and printing will be shared by participating galleries. The IAAC has already curated the artwork, the exhibition opened at the Queens Museum of Art Feb 4-Mar4, 2007; at The Guild Art Gallery April 5-6. 2007. Gallery openings and closings are coordinated by the IAAC. We send out mailings to our entire lists to spread the word to support our artists.
Marketing and Interpretation
IAAC will utilize its growing listserv (e-technology) to update its patrons. IAAC will also send out postcards, brochures, take advertisements in NYC-based mainstream, ethnic, and artist-related media outlets. IAAC will also coordinate with other arts organizations, artists, and partner organizations to support the Exhibition.
At the exhibition, audience members will receive a catologue with listings of the artists, artwork, and contact information for contacting the artists. There will also be postcards on a table to gather audience's contact information, and advertisements for future IAAC events.
The IAAC will utilize E-technology to disseminate information about the Exhibitions, the artists, and the artwork being displayed.
Time Frame and Venues
Finalists for the exhibition will be informed in December 2008.
The exhibition (with the artists) will tour the NYC boroughs, NY State and any other areas in the US that are eager to participate.
The tour dates planned are February 2009 thru October 2009. The hours will be normal operating hours (11AM-5PM). Opening and Closing Receptions are scheduled for 7-9 PM in each location.
Hosting galleries will co-host with the IAAC. The hosting galleries will give their space and publicise the exhibition to their patrons and other people on their mailing lists. The IAAC will help them in this mission.