Manchester is to celebrate South Asian art & design with 9 shows across the city from 29th September – March 2018, as part of the New North and South network. The Whitworth will present the first major UK exhibition by Raqs Media Collective and the work of South Asian Modernists 1953-63. There are solo exhibitions from Neha Choksi, Waqas Khan, Mehreen Murtaza, Hetain Patel, Risham Syed and a one-off performance lecture by Tentative Collective at Manchester Art Gallery; a solo show and interventions at Manchester Museum by Reena Saini Kallat and a 48hr one-off performance by Nikhil Chopra at the Museum of Science and Industry for the opening weekend (29 September – 1 October 2017)
Marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of India, Pakistan and later Bangladesh, eight exhibitions will present both new and seminal works, while a wider programme of music, film and performances for the opening weekend (29 September – 1 October 2017) will invite audiences to experience a wealth of South Asian culture. Dr Nick Merriman, Director of Manchester Museum and spokesperson for the New North and South said: “The programme in Manchester this September will shine a spotlight on South Asian art and culture through the work of world renowned artists.”
New North and South is a network of eleven arts organisations from South Asia and the North of England, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence. The September exhibitions and events will take place at the Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and HOME.
Raqs Media Collective, 30th September 2017 – 25 February 2018
Raqs Media Collective, Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, have been described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. The exhibition Twilight Language (30 September 2017 – 25 February 2018) at the Whitworth and throughout Whitworth Park will, in the Collective’s own words, ‘unravel worlds, make questions, haunt memorials, and follow the tangled threads of how histories and ways of thinking about emancipation intersect.’
The extensive exhibition will present many works from Raqs Media Collective’s practice including The Necessity of Infinity (2017) Coronation Park (2015), The Things That Happen When Falling in Love (2010) and the video works Strikes at Time (2011) and Equinox (2012). The exhibition will include several new commissions inspired by Manchester’s history.
South Asian Modernists, 30th September – 15th April 2018
South Asian Modernists 1953-1963 at the Whitworth (30 September–15 April 2018) will reflect the pioneering efforts of Victor Musgrave and experimental Gallery One to introduce South Asia’s most eminent modernist artists to Europe between 1953-63.
Seven Indian Painters in Europe (1958) the exhibition will draw exclusively from the 1953-63 period, capturing the creative atmosphere of the time. Artists featured will include S H Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Tyeb Mehta, Paritosh Sen, Avinash Chandra, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Francis Newton Souza, Ram Kumar and Laxman Pai. Paintings will be supported by works on paper, exhibition catalogues and photographs by the renowned photographer Ida Kar. The exhibition is co-curated with Amrita Jhaveri, an expert in Modern and Contemporary Indian art, gallerist, author and collector.
Manchester Art Gallery will open solo presentations by five artists: Neha Choksi, Waqas Khan, Mehreen Murtaza, Hetain Patel, Risham Syed and host a one-off performance lecture from Tentative Collective.
Neha Choksi, 30th September – 25th February 2018
Neha Choksi’s new multichannel film installation (30 September – 25 February 2018) will feature the artist and her friends. Stemming from a conviction that to learn to be oneself, one always needs others, the film is shot at a construction site for an expansive and modernising Jain ashram in India. Each invented situation explores the interconnections and tensions between an individual and her community, solitude and gregariousness, genius and collaboration, repose and performance. Neither psychological probing nor spiritual collectivism – in short, science or religion – can fully address and encompass human desire.
Waqas Khan 30th September 2017 – 4th February 2018
Waqas Khan’s minimalist ink drawings are made from networks of extremely precise dots and lines that measure less than a centimetre each. He creates expansive monochrome compositions that resemble webs and celestial expanses. Working at night, he enters a trance-like state in which he controls his breath to match his mark-making. His work is inspired by Sufi stories and songs, ‘I deal with the script of the Sufi. It’s a side of Islam that is peaceful, happy. For me, Sufism is like meditation, that kind of calm’.
Mehreen Murtaza, 30th September 2017 – 4th February 2018
Mehreen Murtaza will fill Manchester Art Gallery’s ground floor gallery (30 September 2017 – 4 February 2018) with living plants for a new work exploring communication and consciousness. Through in-depth research, Murtaza has developed a unique narrative and sound installation which will blur the boundaries between plant neurobiology, science fiction, philosophy and spirituality to create a space that is neither fiction nor non-fiction.
Hetain Patel, 30th September 2017 – th4 February 2018
Multi-disciplinary artist Hetain Patel will exhibit two video works, The Jump (2015) and Don’t Look At The Finger (2017), a new commission by Film and Video Umbrella with Manchester Art Gallery and QUAD (30 September 2017 – 4 February 2018). Continuing the artist’s fascination with staging archetypal Hollywood action scenes within domestic settings, each piece employs the artist’s characteristic sense of humour and the scale of a Hollywood production.
Don’t Look At The Finger presents a wedding ceremony where bodies speak physically, and the protagonists seek human connection through ritual combat and signed languages. The Jump features Patel’s homemade replica Spider-Man costume and connects the fantasy of action and superhero films with the domestic setting of his British Indian family home in Bolton.
Risham Syed, 30th September 2017 – 25th February 2018
Risham Syed’s solo presentation (30 September 2017 – 25 February 2018) will consist of new postcard sized paintings of Lahore, exquisite mementos of the artist’s home city. Juxtaposed with life-size objects from the construction industry such as iron rods or spiked grills, the exhibition will show a city in constant flux. Additional sculptural works that reference collective memory and colonial history will be installed in dialogue with the galleries 18th and 19th century permanent collection.
On 30 September at 2pm Tentative Collective will host a performance-lecture in response to their home city of Karachi. Concentrated on three brothers, who continue to work for a family business Ahmeddin and Sons, making immaculately handcrafted caps, the project engages with notions of progress and development, shifting economies, and the changing pace of a globalised, neoliberal city.
Nikhil Chopra, 29th September to 1st October 2017
From 29 September to 1 October 2017, the Museum of Science and Industry will welcome performance artist, Nikhil Chopra. Chopra will create a one-off, 48hour performance based around steam locomotive 3157 in the museum’s Power Hall. The engine, built in 1911 at Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside was exported to countries of the former British Empire. Serving on the North Western Railway of India this locomotive was transferred to Pakistan Railways after Partition in 1947 where it ran until 1982.
This historic object will form the symbolic centre of Chopra’s performance. Famous for long-duration performance pieces, Chopra’s work will include changing costumed personas; intricate, detailed graphic drawing; and live music by DJ, Masta Justy. Open 24 hours a day visitors will be able to watch Chopra’s piece at any time during the weekend.
Reena Saini Kallat, 29th September 2017 – 26th February 2018
Reena Saini Kallat’s solo exhibition Earth Families at Manchester Museum (29 September 2017 – 26 February 2018) will interact with the museum’s rich and varied natural sciences and human cultures collection. Drawing together multiple strands of objects and specimens to invoke dense histories of human exchange and combat, coercion and conquest, Kallat creates new hybridised species of birds and animals, trees and flowers from national symbols proclaimed by nations as their own, symbolically unifying the otherwise conflicted nations they represent.
The Oak tree of the USA is combined with the Palm tree of Cuba, the national bird from Israel the Hoopoe alongside the Palestinian Sunbird. Kallat will also exhibit Colour Curtain (2009), a barricade made from rubberstamps with the names of individuals who have been denied visas and Light Leaks (2008-2010), a sculpture modelled on the gates at the Wagah Attari border between India and Pakistan.
About the New North South network
The New North and South network consists of Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth, Manchester Museum, Liverpool Biennial, The Tetley in Leeds and Colombo Art Biennale (Sri Lanka), Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh), Karachi and Lahore Biennales (Pakistan), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (India) and the British Council. The three year project aims to connect with diverse audiences on both continents through a programme of exhibitions and events that showcase the best of contemporary art from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK.
Find out more at www.newnorthandsouth.org