Making its first appearance in Philadelphia is the Indo-American Arts Council's "Erasing Borders 2010: Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora" at Twelve Gates Art Gallery. This seventh annual show looks very much at home in its latest venue, which specializes in art related to the Indian subcontinent. A curated all-media display, it features 24 artists showing 52 works.
The spirited exhibition has a lot more show than tell, so don't look for a central theme. Occasionally ideas bob to the surface, as when Nidhi Jalan's intricate collage mixes memory of the artist's native Calcutta with cultural myth, beauty, and the grotesque. Avani Patel's robust skill as a colorist appears fresh and almost startling, while there's an immediacy and gutsiness in Sheena Sood's handwoven tapestry. The loose richness of Anujan Ezhikoda's painting is tamed and formalized, bringing its conceptual and visual elements together in an open, thought-provoking way.
And it's good to be reminded of Neil Chowdhury's large-format photos of street vendors and casual laborers. These are expressions of a world in which even its street scenes can be transformed, seen with new clarity through the experience of a photographer born in America of Indian parentage.
Twelve Gates Art Gallery, 305 Cherry St. To July 24. Wed-Sat 11-5. Free. 267-519-2737.
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