Dia*sperse

9-27 June 1999
Black Paint Studio 1158 Queen St W, suite 101 (Toronto)

Srinivas Kuruganti
N. Gitanjali Lena
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
Naureen Shah

Bringing together five contemporary visual artists from diverse communities throughout the South Asian diaspora, this exhibition examines the genres of documentary and social satire, and in some cases shows an overlap between the two.

Using colour photography, Allan DeSouza documents orientalist architecture around the United States, focusing on tourist sites such as Atlantic City and Disneyland. Ann Palakunnathu Matthew‘s digitally altered Hindi film posters are more blatantly satirical; she superimposes personal images and text onto the posters for an ironic effect which humourously challenges traditional gender roles and behaviour. Both Srinivas Kuruganti and Naureen Shah present photography which draws from classic documentary styles, but each artist has examined and employed this form to very different effects. While Kuruganti documents the Desi party culture in New York as an inquiry into issues to gender, identity and representation, Shah’s intimate photographs of Pakistani women are intended to record women’s oppression in Pakistan and convey a visceral reaction to the viewer. Amid this exhibit which consists mostly of photo-based work, N.Gitanjali Lena offers an interactive installation piece, a sandbox full of objects made in the developing world for mass consumptions in the West. Participants are invited to dig for buried “treasure” in the sandbox, an action which makes them metaphorically complicit in the production/consumptions of such objects which also satirically drawing out neo-colonialist project of global capitalism.

Michelle Daniel, for the SAVAC steering Committee

 

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