One Artist

Srishti Documents: Art, Design and Creative Practices in South Asia

One Artist series focuses on individual contemporary artists and designers, and their practice, in engaging with unprecedented changes and discernible renovations the South Asian societies are undergoing today. The objective here is to analyze artists’ work and practices as a way of understanding the contemporary. We focus especially on those contemporary artists that come from non-metropolitan background and have not had sustained exposure to international art trends either through education or participation in exhibitions, galleries and residencies abroad.

Since the year 2000 India in particular and South Asia in general have been undergoing unprecedented change, albeit at dissimilar rhythms, across all geographies, social groups and economic categories. Everything—spaces, places, sights, sounds textures, tastes, bodies and movements—is being subjected to visible transformations. There is consensus on the causes—globalization, liberalization and migration—but, what is more interesting are the consequences, manifested in the everyday, either as optimistic exuberance of possibilities or as anxieties of loss and uncertainties.

The magnitude of this new phenomenon that encompasses all dimensions of life is yet to be measured. Perhaps it’s unmeasurable since we are in the midst of alterations; living and experiencing them day-to-day. How can one measure when there is no distance? The disciplinary tools of analysis devised to evaluate what is fixed and past may be inadequate to this task. Even those instruments of understanding the present—surveys and observations—may prove to be insufficient, since opinions are tentative and behaviors transient.

And yet, we would like to venture, however provisionally, to describe, analyze, understand and possibly advance theoretical concepts about the contemporary in India. In this adventure of mind, discourse and creative expression, Art will serve as Ariadne’s thread to guide us through the labyrinths of transformations.

Talking about contemporary art in India is challenging given that there are no common threads that we can follow because the notion of contemporary gives rise to multiple views based on the region, class and culture. Also, the very idea of “contemporary” needs deconstruction given the simultaneity of differentiated temporality on single phenomenal spectrum. Hence, we have set on the task of weaving the interconnected foreground and background together—analyzing art in India today and employing artists and their work as way of understanding the contemporary. For this duel endeavor we view art as both, a surface practice and a Meta discourse. As a practice of giving purposeful form to spaces and objects we want to bring together insightful ideas and observations about artists and their practice from the perspective of thematic and aesthetics in India today. Following art as Meta discourse we would like to develop thoughtful arguments about relation between the surface and structure, contemporary circumstances, historical continuities / discontinuities, ideological exigencies and negotiations between tradition and modernity.

We welcome submission of ideas and suggestion of artists to be covered under this series. Send an email to us with your idea in an abstract from of 350 words to