'InContext: public.art.ecology - Food Edition III', a group art show at KHOJ International Artists' Association, S-17, Khirkee Extension > 11am to 7pm on 17th to 19th April 2014

Time : 11:00 am - 7:00 pm

Entry : Free

Place : KHOJ International Artists' Association, S-17, Khirkee Extension, New Delhi - 110017
Area : Saket

Event Description : Khoj International Artists’ Association presents InContext: public.art.ecology - Food Edition III, a show of artworks that have been created by artists during a month-long residency with an aim to generate conversations around issues of food sustainability, food cycles (including growing, farming, harvesting, producing, circulating and distributing) and agriculture in both urban and peri-urban settings in and around Delhi 

The participating artists are Ravi Agarwal, Leone Contini (Italy), Rabya Naseer and Hurmat-ul-Ain (Pakistan), Mona Gandhi, Simran Chopra, Srishti Lakhera and Suvani Suri.

Says Pooja Sood, Director, Khoj: “Khoj’s InContext:public.art.ecology programme was instituted to create a public dialogue around ecological issues through artistic projects and interventions. Over the last two years, through its InContext residencies, Khoj has narrowed its focus to supporting projects and interventions that have dealt with a variety of ecological issues surrounding food.”

In continuing with this trajectory, Khoj is currently curating a third edition of its InContext:public.art.ecology - Food Edition IIIresidency. Conceived to overlap with the commencement of a separate but related year-long urban-farming initiative, the artists-in-residence are researching issues around food sustainability, food cycles (including growing, farming, harvesting, producing, circulating and distributing) and agriculture in both urban and peri-urban settings in and around Delhi. Simultaneously, the residency is also developing additional conversations around other food-related issues, such as the politics of food and food as an artistic medium.

Ravi Agarwal is an artist, environmental activist, writer and curator. His earlier work, in the documentary oeuvre, encompasses ‘nature’, ‘work,’ ‘labour,’ and the ‘street,’ while more recent work has been traversing questions of the self and ecological sustainability based on explorations of ‘personal ecologies.’ He now works with photography, video and installation. He writes extensively on ecological issues, and is also founder of the leading Indian environmental NGO Toxics Link. He is an Engineer by training.

He says about his work titled Desire - Denial- Deprivation: “Food at its best, is deeply sensual. It unleashes an explosion of desires. Like sex it is deeply encoded into our evolutionary DNA. It is livelihood, mega industry, identity, culture, economics, policy, politics, violence, deforestation, religion and the craving for happiness. It is ubiquitous to our lives. I am interested in exploring the idea of a voluntary denial of food (for example fasting) as well as the involuntary deprivation (example starvation) caused by its absence or a lack of access to it. Apart from this, I am also exploring ideas of how food has conceptually been thought in anthropology and philosophy. Through photos and videos I am documenting multiple food-scapes for this residency, which govern food including farms, markets, shops/ stalls and food courts.”

Italian artist Leone Contini has studied Philosophy and Cultural Anthropology at Università degli Studi di Siena. His research - mainly focused on intercultural frictions, conflict and power relations, displacement, migration and Diasporas - borrows the tools of contemporary anthropology in order to short-circuiting spheres of common feelings and significance through the use of lecture performances, collective interventions in public space, textual and audio-visual narratives, blogging and self-publishing.

He says about his work: “During my stay at Khoj, I came across the unfinished concrete ramp in front of the Satpula Dam. The site has archaeological ruins from the pre Mogul era and will be the location for a series of interventions - such as workshops, talks, actions - involving users of the park, environmental activists, historians and other practitioners. The ruins are the evidence of a huge "welfare" strength based on water as a strategic and political component. The water collected by the dam was used to develop agricultural activities and provide food security. However, in the current context water, agriculture and food security are still tied together, but in a different way. The stream than was once at the core of such a huge infrastructural project lost its original name together with its identity: it is in fact merely called "drain or nallah"; And this “drain” or nallah is part of a complex system of rivers and artificial canals, often buried under the surface of the city, and used as a garbage dump. These reticular structures are in the main catchments of Delhi and merge into the Yamuna River: the Yamuna banks - a crucial component of the food supplying in Delhi, which is now extremely polluted. The entire research and the outcome of the actions-interventions at the Satupula site will be the subject of a lecture-performance at Khoj, which will involve storytelling, drawing, cooking.”

Pakistani artists Rabbya Naseer & Hurmat ul Ain are interdisciplinary artists from National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore. Their work explores areas of painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance. They have been working collaboratively, since 2008 in Pakistan and continued in USA, where they both went to the School of Art Institute Chicago (SAIC), as Fulbright scholars.
They say about their work: “Our collaboration plays at the notion of duality and similarity by building situations of exchange, while raising questions of identity and non-identity. Food and tea serve as a backdrop for staging cultural and political dialogue, pertinent to the history of the subcontinent.”

Mumbai-based Mona Gandhi’s inquiry into food – natural & industrial – deepens her engagement with local & sustainable food systems. Through the world of raw, plant-based foods, she explores connections between people & the planet. She participates in community experiments across geography & culture.
She says about her work Under our skin, a talk-piece contemplating ecology and food politics, “The reflections will centre around what we mean by food and what food means to us, and questioning our notions of nature as the pretty, sublime stuff minus the urban sprawl. Rather than romanticize it as something outside of us and admire it from afar, the talk proposes that it's time to do without this idea of nature in order to re-think it. I understand eating to be an agricultural act, with an evolving awareness of the consequences of our food choices on the planet. During my residency at Khoj for InContext: public.art.ecology - Food Edition III, I have been exploring Khirki’s markets daily for fresh & local foods which I consume raw & steamed. My project employs the communal aspect of food to evolve behaviour towards a mutually supportive food culture. I plan un-cooking sessions along with the crew of café Three Windows at Khoj - raw and steamed, minimally processed recipes. In doing so, I hope to create an afterimage for my time at the residency i.e. a menu of some sort that could be available through the year if the café so chooses. Also, in collaboration with fellow-resident Leone Contini, I will have an intervention around the use of the bottle gourd. All projects I work on during this residency are along with itinerant arts-lab Khanabadosh.”
Simran Chopra, a communication design graduate has recently concluded a master’s program in New Media Design at the National Institute of Design. She seeks to explore the intersections between New media, Art, and Culture through the exploration of tangible interactions with everyday objects.  Suvani Suri , after having done her graduation in Computer Science Engineering pursued a master’s course in New Media because of her inclination towards design studies and creative arts. Her stint at National Institute of Design has led her to experiment with various media and subjects.
Simran Chopra and Suvani Suri have collaborated together and say about their work, “Food can be expressed as a medium that constantly connects the time, space and emotions of a world that one grew up in to that in which one will grow old. In a manner that is both tangible and intangible, it links the present to the past and transcends into the future. The proposed piece is a space constructed to encapsulate the notions of what constitutes a meal and the act of feeding our bodies and souls, positioned in a time and place that is not completely defined. It could be the present day or the future, or the present future that could be elucidated as the future of the present state.

The form of the space and interactions externalizes the prisons which our bodies are born into, that define our choices and addictions in terms of what we consume, and which are further exploited by the corporations. The social and cultural fabric of a meal is artificially constructed to highlight the isolation - body with respect to the internal processing of what we consume. In addition, the setting conveys a false sense of comfort using familiarity as a means to evoke nostalgia and trigger the ‘taste’ of memories- a strategy that most advertising and corporations play upon. The aesthetics of the meal and its claims of being ‘healthy’ and ‘fresh’ are exaggerated, in a near surreal manner, to create a world of the ‘make-believe’, a world that we believe to be the real in the moment.”
Srishti Lakhera is a Filmmaker, Basket Weaver and a farmer. Her work is inspired by her journey in the hills and the farm lands. Since 2013, she has been based in Delhi and runs a production house “P.S. Chhaap Productions”. She has been commissioned to make short classical animation and short films. She uses stop motion, hand cutout and claymation techniques. She says about her work titled The Desert inside my Body: “Food's effect on the body is not only physical or nutritional but emotional as well. I am exploring the experience of emotional eating and people's understanding of their relationship with food. I am interested in the stories of individuals where food has fed emotions and insecurities and where food is used as a tool that defines the shape and size of the body. This project started as an attempt to understand the urban food chain and the ecosystems behind it. What came forth was the disconnect between soil and bodies, where seeds grow in isolation from the soil and our bodies are eating products. My research has grown to investigate the disconnects within the ecosystem, through the parts within ourselves and inside our bodies.”

Related Events : Exhibitions
'InContext: public.art.ecology - Food Edition III', a group art show at KHOJ International Artists' Association, S-17, Khirkee Extension > 11am to 7pm on 17th to 19th April 2014 'InContext: public.art.ecology - Food Edition III', a group art show at KHOJ International Artists' Association, S-17, Khirkee Extension > 11am to 7pm on 17th to 19th April 2014 Reviewed by Delhi Events on Saturday, April 19, 2014 Rating: 5

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