“The Kala Chaupal’s first virtual exhibition begins with the individual vision of nine artists who witnessed the pandemic. Their work responds to the long suspended pause that we have all lived through. It asks us to sit with this experience, for the world will never be the same again.
Since March, artists world-wide have done what artists do, documented the pulse of the moment, from within and without. Inevitably, they have had their own overwhelming social and economic challenges, often lacking space, time, and means to create works of art, but despite this, many have continued to work.
The artists in this exhibition experienced a personal sense of grief, interruption, fear, and confusion as they confront their losses. At the same time, they found something during this time of upheaval. Perhaps a new connection with themselves, or with each other, in sharing a collective trauma. The invited artists were asked to contemplate on how they adjusted and focused their narratives during their isolation. In answer to this, the artists show us a ravaged dismal world, and the self in harm. Some reflect on personal challenges, and some comment on the state of the world.
Art became a place of refuge, for reconnecting with the world’s deeper inherent beauty, order and wisdom. It has brought these artists stability and a “holding place” to contain the uncertainty of the moment. This is a place we all need to revisit as we move into the post pandemic world.
Did the pandemic come to us from global patterns of misguided power, from an unregulated animal industry, from those who would destroy nature for their own gains, from inhumane conditions, from fast paced ill-designed urban development, and yes from personal irresponsibility? One pandemic leads to another. Now we are living in a virtual reality, that while providing more information, has in many ways, taken us away from Nature and the Self. How can we create a new global architecture that constructs pathways for shared community, equality, and resilience? How can we replace dominance over nature? How can we address and flatten inequities in the world? The pandemic has indeed brought us to a tipping point, and to unknown next steps.
We are in a rush to get to where we were before the pandemic, but the sting of the trauma is embedded within us. This space between two heartbeats, will stay with us. “To heal, we must remember”.”
The Kala Chaupal, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to fostering knowledge and exchanges between different disciplines of traditional and contemporary arts and artists. We provide a platform to the artistic fraternity across the globe in compelling and dynamic conversations, through panels, seminars, exhibitions, and residencies that have a far-reaching impact on cultures and environments. The Kala Chaupal also encourages a confluence of multi-dimensional art forms across multiple sections of society leading to new and unconventional artist expressions.
The Environmental Situation Room is a curatorial premise established in March 2020 as a global situation art project, inviting artists from all over the world to participate and actively contribute to a global community of artists. It is a call for the artists to think and to create meaningful visual narratives about environmental and socio-political concerns that feed into regional intent. In receiving the responses of artistic expression, the Environmental Situation Room will serve as a repository, a witness, and a virtual reality that focuses on the larger questions that reside under the big umbrella of climate change.
We see this first online exhibition TO HEAL WE MUST REMEMBER being critical in expanding the connection between consciousness and the challenges of current social and environmental conditions in communities throughout India and beyond. A series of continuing exhibitions is contemplated to address the categories of mythology and personal iconography, of urban and daily life, of socio-political and gender based issues, and of scientific and new media-based art.
Leenika Jacob, Founding Trustee, Kala Chaupal