`Homelands` to be showcased in India art fair

New Delhi: One of Britain`s most talked about showcases of contemporary art, ‘Homelands’ - that explores the relationship between the self and the place in a world of short-lived identities and contested geographies - will tour India from Jan 22 during the 5th India Art Fair in the capital.

The exhibition will be brought to India by the British Council, partnered by the India Art Fair, Kotak Mahindra and London-based auction house Christie`s, the auction house said Tuesday in a communique.

It will open at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts (IGNCA) Jan 22 in the capital followed by in Kolkata Feb 28, Mumbai April 27 and in Bangalore in the last week of April.

The art works, collected from the British Council`s art repository, throw fresh light on contemporary British art by studying the idea of new "Homelands" that is made of conflicting histories of alienation, memory, adopted nations and migrations.

Curated by Indian art historian Latika Gupta, it will host 80 works of 28 modern and contemporary artists.

Of the 28 artists, eight are Turner Prize winners and nominees. They include George Shaw (nominee in 2011), Tim Hetherington was the winner of World Press Photo competition in 2007. Jeremy Deller (winner in 2004), Langlands and Bell (nominee in 2004), Grayson Perry (winner in 2003), Cornelia Parker (nominee in 1997), Gillian Wearing (winner in 1997), Mona Hatoum (nominee in 1995), Richard Long (winner in 1989).

‘Homelands’ will roll out a multi-layered programme to include public exhibitions in four major metros - New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru - artist talks, seminars, curator-led walks, outreach activities and workshops.

The outreach programme will allow local partnerships by encouraging dialogue and collaboration between Indian and Britain institutions.

Explaining the essence of the exhibition, curator Latika Gupta said: "Today, many of us move across national boundaries. We are born in one country, we make another our home."

"In the criss-crossing of political, social and cultural borders, we live our lives through hyphenated identities belonging here and there; inhabiting multiple places- both physical and metaphorical."

"Geographies that can be mapped as international boundaries and as places conjured through remembering and imagining," she said.

Gupta said the art works will try to question issues about "what constitutes a homeland".

"Is it ethnicity, language, religion, customs and beliefs. Are homelands those in which our ancestors were born? What of outsiders who live and make other lands their homes? Where do we really belong? Where is it that we hope to one day return?" Gupta asked.

According to Gupta, the project was "exciting because it would introduce 28 emerging British artists to India and connect to tens of thousands of people, especially young people with the best contemporary art".

A spokesperson for British Council said the exhibition demonstrated the inter-cultural connection and the value of international collaboration with an Indian curator offering a unique slant on a British art collection.

It asks about the bewildering identity crisis that for so many of us that constitutes modern life, Director of British Council-India, Rob Lynes said.


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