Delicate Bond of Steel
Curated by Projjal Dutta and Andrew Shea
Aicon Gallery proudly presents its first exhibition in India, Delicate Bond of Steel. The exhibition, hosted in Chatterjee & Lal’s Mumbai gallery, opens on November 10th, 2016, and features artists Anila Quayyum Agha, Abir Karmakar, Rajan Krishnan, G. R. Iranna, Baiju Parthan, Promotesh Das Pulak, Saad Qureshi, Abdullah M. I. Syed and Salman Toor. The exhibition is part of a collaborative exchange with Chatterjee & Lal, whose sister exhibition we enthusiastically look forward to hosting in 2017 in New York. Aicon’s exhibition in Mumbai is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and artist Rajan Krishnan.
The departing British colonial administration positioned the independence and division of the
Indian subcontinent in 1947, ultimately, as a means of ensuring lasting peace. However, seventy years later, regional, political and religious divides continue, contributing, in part, to the creation of a global South Asian diaspora, which has taken up firm, yet culturally and historically, interconnected roots wherever it finds itself. Yet, the peace that was to come from independence on the subcontinent, has been elusive. Sectarian strife and regional conflict have found a way to reach across borders the world over, but particularly so in Asia and the Middle East. If, in fact, peace has been imagined anywhere in these regions, it has been in the arts. Whether in the movies, music, television or in print, there has been a constant exchange, even under the darkest clouds of war, that has unpeeled and laid bare the lives of one to the other. Through this unpeeling and revealing, commonalities have ultimately trumped differences.
Delicate Bond of Steel is an homage to this imagination, this possibility of peace and co-existence. It brings together the work of sub-continental artists of the post-independence and post-partition generation. This generation was spared the complex and violent struggles of this era and often brought up instead on rosy nostalgia. It is also the generation that, through the digital flattening of the earth, has had access to instant and unfiltered information. For the diaspora artists in this exhibition, all of this comes together in wonderfully varied visual forms, which nevertheless spring from a common historical and cultural bond deeply rooted in the subcontinent.
Aicon Gallery’s curatorial vision begins in the Indian sub-continent but reaches outwards internationally from there. The New York gallery provides a vital platform for Modern and Contemporary artists from South Asia, as well as the Middle East and, finally, diaspora artists, to realize their vision in a global and ever-shifting world. Alongside in-depth, focused solo shows, the gallery presents a program of curated group exhibitions that are international in their scope and ambition. The program deliberately links together art produced recently with art made in the latter half of the 20th Century. Through this, we hope to produce unexpected congruencies, shed light on multiple modernisms and nuanced designations of “contemporary”.