Friday, February 17, 2012

Art Installation –“Grassroots”

By Pari Syal

Artistic expression is never limited by the wherewithal of one’s surroundings. Indian artist Sandhya Pai, who has depicted strong thematic interests in congregation and group purpose coupled with ritual, memory and history, has over the years touched a veritably sensitive chord with her installations that seek to be honest and enquiring.

Mounting her first exhibition at London’s The Noble Sage art gallery, Sandhya works on the theme called “Grassroots”, where she attempts to connect with the earth using crushed newspaper pulp as the base for her installation. The incorporation of this pulp is significant: it is the stuff of words and letters that together makes up our living recent history made into a paradoxically non-recognizable, non-readable, natural soil-like surface. From this ‘soil’, or as Sandhya describes it ‘this source’, emerge figures from her history, in back and white, like little idols of real life for us to worship in this extinguished pyre.

There is a religiosity that comes through in the installation. The images project everyday life to be holy and worthy of reverence and physical orbit. As one circles the installation to view it completely, it invokes memories of Hindu rituals in the temple, where the planetary idols or certain deities are circled thrice by devotees.

The artist likens the energy she wants to create in this work to the dynamism of any mass social movement or any collective at a religious gathering or celebration. She sees the work as a metaphor for social transformation, inspired by her witnessing of the recent London riots and the anti-corruption movement in India. The title, ‘Grassroots’, in this way, relates to ground level shifts, social and political as well as within the family and the community.

Dates: 17th - 26th February by appointment only
Venue: The Noble Sage, London, UK

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