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Has Landscape Representation Evolved At All? Emami Art’s Panelists Answer The Burning Questions

As a part of an ongoing exhibition, ‘All That is Hidden: Mapping Departures in Landscape, Terrains and Geographies’, Emami Art is presenting a panel discussion, ‘Ways of Landscape: Artist’s Perspectives’ on March 23, the show’s last day at the ground floor of Emami on 6 pm to 7.30 pm. In this conversation, renowned artists Debashish Paul, Jayashree Chakravarty, and Nobina Gupta explore these obscure domains in depth. 

Through their varied artistic methods and viewpoints, Paul, Chakravarty, and Gupta were able to negotiate the complex relationship between what is seen and what is hidden in landscapes. Layers of meaning woven into the fabric of our environment were revealed by each artist, ranging from the tangible outlines of nature to the nebulous nuances of memory and imagination.

The radically changing social, political and cultural dynamics greatly influence the contemporary representations of landscape. Coming from different realms of artistic approach, the panellists will discuss the idea of landscape as a critical space, its transformations and the possibilities of envisioning alternative landscapes. By delving into the complexities inherent in the conceptualisation and portrayal of landscape, the discussion aims for a deeper critical inquiry into diverse perspectives. The discourse is a component of the ongoing exhibition ‘All That is Hidden: Mapping Departures in Landscape, Terrains and Geographies’, a group exhibition of works by 18 artists, including modernists and young contemporary artists.

Meet the Panelists: 

Debashish Paul, born in 1994 in Nadia district in West Bengal, explores the problems of queer identity in a society dominated by heterosexual norms. Paul has completed his BFA from The Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship in Kolkata, and he completed his master’s degree in sculpture at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, in 2021. 

Paul performed live at The Prince Claus Fund Biennial Symposium 2023, Sri Lanka; Open Day Performance at Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2023 as part of PRAF Artist in Residence; India Art Fair 2023, New Delhi; French Institute of India, New Delhi, India; Residency and Performance Art Program curated by HH Art Space Foundation and Nikhil Chopra in collaboration with Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022-23, Kochi, India. He is also a recipient of the 2022-23 Prince Claus Seed Fund; Kalanad Scholarship 2022 – 23 from the Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation; 2022 Inlaks Fine Art Award, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation; Allegro 1st prize 2021, Contemporary LYNX, UK; The India Artist Relief Fund-2021 (MAP in partnership with 1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery). Debashish Paul was part of Art Dusseldorf 2023. He was one of the artists in residence at the India Art Fair 2023. His other notable exhibitions include Beyond Binaries: Sensing Art through Queer Lensing-2021 at KCC, Kolkata; the Student’s Biennale -2021, Kochi; Kala Sakshi Workshop-2021, Emami Art Open Call Exhibition -2020, Kolkata; Of Liminal Beings and Other Spaces curated by Ushmita Sahu -2021, Emami Art, Kolkata; The Spring at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata in 2019. Debashish Paul lives and works in Varanasi.

Ways of Landscape: Artist’s Perspectives / Emami Art

Jayashree Chakravarty (b. 1956) completed her Graduation at Visva Bharati in the sprawling natural environs of Santiniketan. She pursued her Master’s at the Faculty of Fine Arts at The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, where she was exposed to an urban sensibility. She was also an artist in residence at Aix-en-Provence from 1993-95, where she was influenced in the formative years of her practice by the French movement Supports/Surfaces, especially by Claude Viallat and had conversations with some of the group members at the time. Inventing her creative techniques, using organic material and varied kinds of papers, her installations in paper scrolls remain unique in their conceptions and execution.

Chakravarty has had exhibitions both in India and abroad, with shows at various museums, including the Musee Departemental des Arts Asiatiques Nice, France; The Tagore Centre, Berlin, Germany; Chicago Cultural Center, Illinois, USA; and Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Singapore to name a few. Her recent shows include her exhibition at the Palazzo Madama, Turin, Italy; Musée Guimet in Paris, France; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida & New Delhi. The artist lives and works in Kolkata, India.

As a socially engaged practising artist, Nobina Gupta has constantly felt responsible for confronting and responding to socio-spatial realities, climate emergencies, and, more significantly, human behavioural changes. Articulating the profound relationships, lived experiences, and metaphysical ideas offered through a complex layering of forms and meanings, Gupta has been researching creative ecology. This gave her the impetus to ideate and curate the ‘Disappearing Dialogues Collective’. In the past eight years, as the founder and director of the collective and collaborating alongside interdisciplinary practitioners and youths from various communities and organisations, Gupta has strived to make them proactive towards conservation and sustainability. The ‘Disappearing Dialogues Collectives’ lies at the intersection of education, environment and innovative art practices, co-creating experiences that foreground cultural and environmental assets, losses, sentiments and memories intrinsic to vulnerable places and communities. 

Gupta has created a niche for herself through significant representations at national and international forums – from the India Art Fair and the Art Fair Cologne, Germany, to Art Stages, Singapore, Art Asia Miami, and Art Dubai. As a solo artist, her work has been showcased at Gallery Sanskrit, Kolkata, Jan Kossen Contemporary Gallery, Basel, and Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich, and has participated in group shows in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Indonesia, and India.

In public realms, she expands her practice through a series of engaging interactions. Significant among them is the sensory receptive installation ‘Kalpataru-The Wishing Tree’ in New Delhi, ‘Whispers & Vibrations’ a geo-choreography with nomadic children in Ladakh with the Japan Foundation, ‘Impressions of Mindscape’ – with local passengers at CST platform, with O2 in Mumbai, ‘Rat Race’ at the International Kolkata Book Fair, ‘Disappearing Streams’– a Video Art for the Inner Nature travelling public exhibition in Spain, ‘Social Rupture’- a performative video projection on the crisis of marginalised communities and the need for social justice during the pandemic.

She has curated unconventional engagements and exhibitions such as ‘A Sustainable Dialogue- engagement with Youth’ during climate diplomacy week 2019 with the Consulate of Germany, Kolkata, at the Kolkata Centre for Creativity, ‘Jolabhumir Kotha-o-kahini’ exhibition at Ghare-Baire Museum with Delhi Art Gallery, ‘Waters of Change’, an online archive of works by multiple art practitioners, addresses issues around water and currently ‘Symbiotic Cohabitation’ at Goethe Institute.

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