Inside an old East India Company warehouse-cum-gallery space in south Mumbai, the established New York- and New Delhi-based art contingent EnGendered recently hosted the long-awaited Mumbai premiere of their traveling, multimedia art tour “Resist”. The exhibition was a self-proclaimed “temporal art intervention and protest” about gender-based violence and discrimination. As a “survey exhibition”, the show brought together a diverse array of high-quality visual works from 27 established and emerging artists, as well as “live installations” featuring collaborations from some of India’s best-known designers and artists. In addition to the visual works, the exhibition’s opening also featured music performances from two Delhi-based bands, and poetry from notable poets and lyricists including the esteemed music lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar. Check it out:
EnGendered director and curator Myna Mukherjee, the show’s master-mind and “third eye” cites the recent Delhi rape case as the impetus for launching this pan-Indian tour. “While protests are useful to capture the frustration that entire nation is feeling about this tragic event, it doesn’t leave space for reflection. We wanted to have something that would allow people to react and provoke, but also to question, reflect, and really think about it in constructive terms,” she says. “Resist” also represents a new initiative to transcend the walls of the traditional gallery space to spread awareness about art throughout India. “Recently we’ve seen popular culture has been ridiculously irresponsible. EnGendered is an answer back to the notion that art cannot be socially responsible.”
An India native, Mukherjee lived in New York for over 10 years where she immersed herself in the art scene. After moving to Delhi over one year ago, she strived to bring quality arts with socially-conscious themes to India. Last year, she found a permanent residence for EnGendered in a three-story gallery space in New Delhi. The EnGendered space functions as an open platform for established and emerging visual and performing artists from all over the world to raise awareness about issues of gender and sexuality in South Asia through the four disciplines of music, film, performance, and visual arts.
In preparation for the “Resist” tour, Mukherjee teamed up with the established band SPACE. The three-person band includes a diverse ensemble of a trained classical Hindustani (North Indian) musician (Tritha), a Western pop-influenced singer (Rithika), as well as the percussionist and general “know-it-all” (Paul). Their music reflects the expansive range of their disciplines, and includes powerful lyrics about gender equality and tolerance towards women.
I was able to sit down with them for an interview. For a front-row peek into their music and lives, check out the below. The video is only partially edited, so that you can see the amazing rapport we had without technological mediation!:
The curated portion of EnGendered’s commissioned and non-commissioned work came from 27 artists and designers, including Manish Arora, Arjun Saluja, Satya Paul, Kallol Datta, and Gauri & Nainika. There was also a non-curated portion of the show entitled “The Wall of Solidarity” that functioned as “a visual open-mic” inviting artists from across the world to express their feelings about the rising violence against women and minority communities in South Asia. Since its inception, the Wall of Solidarity has grown to include works from over 100 contributors. You can even submit your work to be featured in upcoming exhibitions. To submit yours, visit the EnGendered website.