Three prominent Indian artists at contemporary art fair

Works of three prominent Indian artists Navjot Altaf, Vidya Kamat and Prajakta Potnis were featured at the Contemporary Istanbul 2007, an international art fair that featured artists from various parts of the world.

The works of these Indian artists were presented by the Guild gallery at the art fair in Istanbul. Among the three artists represented Navjot Altaf, is considered one of India's earliest video artists. Her work orients away from the individualistic, towards collective endeavors. It has always been a part of a wider concern on social and educational issues through which she has sought alternative art practices and communication outside the gallery space.

Her body of work showcased in Istanbul titled 'Bombay Shots' is an interactive project involving the artist and diverse people living and working in Mumbai city, and its rapidly expanding suburbs. At one level one senses a lack of contact and association with newly developed areas, but at another level one recognizes people's constant interest in communication / dialogue and the richness of heterodoxy in this mega city.

Interested in an interactive process of art-making, the artist and her team met and talked to people in different parts of the city. This dialogical process helped them understand people's relationship/association with the city at various levels and the sites they relate to most, wish to visit, remember and like to be photographed with, but can not always do. The idea of 'Bombay Shots' evolved from this interaction.

Another artist showcased at the Istanbul Art Fair Vidya Kamat is known for an art practice with a marked engagement with the physicality and mortality of human body. Her quest for the theme began while she was working as a museum curator of the anatomy section.

Placing her own image as an emblem of a particular representational category, she critiques the social imposition of values on such representations. Gender as a critical category and feminism as critical theory not only questions the specific modern constructions of the female body-self but also of modernism at large. Elaborating on her work art critic Nancy Adjania notes in an essay: 'The artist extends herself through symbolic performances that gauge the density and mobility of her individuation. For these works are nothing less than wagers of a difficult process of individuation.'

On the other hand, the particular series of work by Prajakta Potnis is associated with the idea of selling dreams. The popular concept of 'dream house' is one that is enveloped with the pressure of achievements and success. Her work is about interpreting realities through dreams, understanding the real through the perceptions and the aspirations around it. The commodities that are made out of public emotions intrigue her. The gigantic proud structures are symbolic to the standards, set to judge the capacity or the success of an individual, while the insecurities of being accepted is left for the consuming middle class to deal with.

The artist makes an effort to stitch these overpowering structures into a uniformed social structure, where the imperceptible barriers that mark territories within communities or classes reflect the invisible/hidden walls or membranes which like protective layers build divisions between the insider and the outsider and raise questions of belonging and being accepted.

The 'wall' also refers to the margins that develop within communities in a city to the bodily margins like the skin or a membrane. She draws an intimate viewpoint to echo the complex psychological characteristics of people living within the four walls of a house or a city.'

Previewed works of artist Prajakta Potnis in Saffronart events

View artist Navjot Altaf's work in the Saffronart catalogue

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