In her lecture notes, the late sculptor Mrinalini Mukherjee expresses that she is “temperamentally disinclined to convention”, and that while she draws on historical forms, practices, and methods in her research, she is also interested in challenging tradition and working towards new forms and vocabularies. Organised in conjunction with the exhibition “…and it is something which grows in all directions,” which presents documents from the personal archive of Mukherjee, this programme invites artist and art educator Rakhi Peswani and anthropologist and philosopher Sarover Zaidi. They will be in conversation to respond to the exhibition and extend propositions on materiality, embodied knowledge, and the artistic research process. Peswani and Zaidi, too, in their individual practices, engage with questions that challenge notions of craft, material culture, and labour.
Rakhi Peswani explores various discursive and material aspects of crafts and their association as language, with an emphasis on the hand-made. She is interested in the affective possibilities of materiality and labour, as well as the contexts these create in contemporary image-making. She has recently been examining the environmental and pedagogical ties associated with craft-based practices. Peswani attained an MFA in Ceramic Sculpture (2003) and a BA in Painting (2000) from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University of Baroda. Her works have been shown in various institutional and curated exhibitions in India, China, Japan, Australia, Brazil, UK, and Europe. Her solo exhibitions have been shown in Bangalore (2020), Hamburg (2021, 2019), Mumbai (2018, 2013, 2007, 2006), Delhi (2015, 2009), and Hong Kong (2011). Currently, she works as an Associate Professor at the Visual Arts Department, Ashoka University, Sonipat, India.
Sarover Zaidi is a philosopher and social anthropologist. She works at the intersections of critical theory, anthropology, art, architecture, and material culture studies. She has worked extensively on religious architecture and urbanism in the city of Bombay, as well as rural development, with a focus on health, education, and women’s rights across India. She co-runs a site on writing the city called “Chiragh Dilli,” and works on religious iconography and modernist architecture in South Asia. For the past five years, she has volunteered at the Muslim Women’s Forum. She currently teaches in Sewagram, Wardha, and at the Jindal School of Art and Architecture, Sonipat, India.
The conversation will be moderated by AAA in India Researcher Noopur Desai.
Venue Support: Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA)
This exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation.