BETWEEN DARKNESS & MAGIC - EXAMINING THE KERALA METAPHOR
The title of the exhibition might, for some have an eschatological ring to it. On the contrary, the show reveals that the space within the Darkness is illuminated by the magic of cultural contributions and cross-genre transference. Following CIMA Gallery’s Punch Sena exhibition earlier this summer, of artists from Bombay, BETWEEN DARKNESS AND MAGIC is a group show of thirty five artists, spanning four generations from Kerala. Presenting an exhibition of works of artists from a particular region can be troublesome thing. On the one hand, it gives an opportunity to showcase the creative contributions of a place and/or region in a different geographical state. The other edge of the sword, can be the perception that the exhibition is pursuing an “essentialist quest” – setting it in opposition to others.
Between Darkness and Magic attempts to uncover a contemporary myth, that art is autonomous from place, history and struggles of authenticity. The evolutionary story of every culture is one of progressive opening up to other influences (such as literature) and cultures (migration). It is through art , translations of books (R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days) and modern migrations, that the local meets the world and the world sees the local.
This is not a historical overview of modern art in Kerala. It gives a comprehensive perspective of the art scene in Kerala post-Ravi Varma, starting with K.C.S. Paniker. It includes cartoons and caricature, an area in which Kerala has contributed significantly and it came to represent modern art practice amongst the general public. The effect of translations of one south Indian vernacular literature to another has also been felt and is present in the art, particularly in the illustrated books.
Kerala, the burgeoning metro, has been churning, with the processes of migration, repatriation economy and Marxism.
Through the Darkness of the vigorous stirrings, what is revealed, is that Magic and Darkness are complementary- what happens within and through darkness, is magic and often, magical.