A newly opened gallery hosts its inaugural show

The wealth of visual expression found in the debut exhibition of FSCA (Farah Siddiqui Contemporary Art) is a testament to the rich cultural diversity of the artists represented in the exhibition whose only real commonality is a shared regional past. On view are works by New York based artist Chitra Ganesh, Mehreen Murtaza and Sajjad Ahmed from Lahore , London based Pakistani artist Faiza Butt. Riyas Komu and Prajakta Palav Aher from Mumbai complete the confluence.

FSCA is the new gallery in the heart of Mumbai’s art district, dedicated to exhibiting an eclectic mix of emerging artists and established artists from the sub-continent, primarily from India and Pakistan. The Pakistani artists in the exhibition are being presented for the first time in India, though Faiza Butt and Sajjad Ahmed have exhibited internationally already.

Elaborating on its purpose, Farah Siddiqui mentions: “The mission of FSCA is to broaden the audience for contemporary art, enhancing opportunities for artists from the sun-continent and establishing continuous dialogue through exciting projects. The vision of FSCA encompasses work primarily in the areas of painting, drawing, object-making, and installation, as well as exploring boundaries between art and film.”

Among the participating artists at the inaugural show, Chitra Ganesh, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, employs tactics of visual intervention (recombined Indian comics with destabilizing textual supplements) through a higher degree of manipulation and the inclusion of her iconic visual vocabulary.

Classical motifs, such as idyllic landscapes and nudes, are interrupted by winged scalpels flying past three-headed women in a tartly colored panorama, reminiscent of a Homeric epic. These disparate images are pushed further by the artist's evocative speech balloons and a veneer of violence, leading to a loss of visual and linguistic boundaries.

Faiza Butt’s practice is engaged with two simultaneous concerns: one narrative and the other formal. The narrative derives from everyday imagery of life around her: journalistic photographs of celebrities from the print media, to the random acts of violence relayed regularly by the electronic media.

The youngest artist in the group, Mehreen Murtaza’s digitally manipulated picture stories provoke mental collisions of the strange with the familiar. Using mechanical artifacts, her virtuoso technique evokes scenarios of betrayal, war and theatricality. In the series ‘an anthology of cosmic snippets’, the artist uses the varied imagery like sewing machines, listing trawlers, mysterious figures and political rallies.

Artist Sajjad Ahmed’s practice revolves around representation of extremes. The works are visual translation of relationship of unity and multiplicity, through addressing political, social and art-history issues. The work addresses the growth of identity and its decomposition which disrupts events has been translated in a form of visual metaphors. His recent works are about finding the universe inside us which one tends to find outwards. The telescopic images of universe are a metaphor for so-called broader view about self/life.

On the other hand, Prajakta Palav Aher, through her works, penetrates into the intermediate spaces – spaces between the inside and the outside e g middleclass households, dump yards, swimming pool and wedding pandals. She tries to paint every detail from the photographic references that she has taken.

The images she employs come from her own insecurities and complexities though they seem very simple and ubiquitous at first glance. There are staircases decorated with plastic flowers; fake beautifying objects hanging outside the door; suitcases and airbags pushed onto the cupboard; newspaper stacks lying behind the wooden cabinets; old wall unit filled with torn papers, documents, and covered with plastic sheets. The artist captures such moments of imbalance where she is very attentive about the details. She reveals the vulnerabilities of middleclass life through such confined and subtle moments.

Though this is a group show, its emphasis is not on presenting the artists as a group but as individual practitioners of contemporary art.

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