The idea of Adbhutam-rasa in indian art, germinated fourteen years ago when CIMA held its London show, Chamatkara, in 1996. The aim then was to project the distinct identity of India’s artistic vision for a Western audience. But the need for a similar show for an Indian audience remained unfulfilled all these years. And yet, probing the challenge of an ancient civilization in its interface with a rapidly-changing world was extremely seductive and demanded attention.
We, therefore, re-examined the earlier concept in the light of contemporary concerns and finally decided on this exhibition: a contemporary Chamatkara, where we’ve included many artists working quietly on indigenous ideas but in exciting new ways and with new media.
Our preliminary research yielded important inputs. We discovered that certain aspects of the London show seemed irrelevant in the current context; but the inclusion of new media, not part of Chamatkara at all, now claimed a vital space in this show. Another element that shaped our focus was the diasporic vision. There are Indian artists living abroad who explore India’s cultural legacy in their art. And there are those from abroad who’ve settled in India, accepting the ethos of their adopted region. The overlap that such fluid and multiple identities yield deserves serious enquiry.
This bold exhibition, is daring in the current scenario because it concentrates, on the relevance and politics of the art of making and the enormous legacy of philosophical thought, mythical thinking (the original conceptual art) and fine art practice, contemporary Indian art is based on.