Contemporary Art Takes Centre Stage: exhibition showcases Indian-Scottish artists’ work

8 February, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

Swapnaa Tamhane Shadows Entertainment

British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, along with National Institute of Design is hosting From Where I Stand, a new exhibition of...

British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, along with National Institute of Design is hosting From Where I Stand, a new exhibition of prints and multimedia artworks featuring the work of seven contemporary artists from India and Scotland, as a part of the Future Flow fellowship. New commissions will be displayed alongside existing works in print, video, and installation in Ahmedabad (11-25 February, National Institute of Design) and Delhi (11 – 26 March, British Council) in 2023, as well as Edinburgh in 2024. The exhibit is a part of the India/UK Together, Season of Culture – a programme ofArts, English and Education that celebrates India’s 75th anniversary and builds on the British Council’s commitment for creating opportunities between the two countries.

The Future Flow project, developed by Edinburgh Printmakers in collaboration with Flow India, sees 18 young artists from Scotland and India collaborate to deliver a new exhibition and series of public events as part of the British Council’s India/UK Together, a Season of Culture.The project collaborated with India’s National Institute of Design, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh College of Art, and Queen Margaret University to form this cohort of young fellows, artists, and printmakers from Scotland and India to co-create the exhibition.

Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts India, British Council, said: “The India/UK Together Season of Culture celebrates India’s 75th anniversary of independence and the friendship and strong cultural ties between India and the UK. The must-see exhibition From Where I Stand demonstrates the curatorial prowess and talent of young artists in Scotland and India, culminating in an exhibition of prints that depict the past, present, and future relationships between the two countries. It is wonderful to see how the artists have created the new prints and made the exhibition by combining their design expertise with a passion for printmaking, digital innovation, sustainability, and global equality.”

Claire BarclayNishi ChodimellaAnupa GardnerSushanta GuhaSonia Mehra ChawlaShiva Nallaperumal, and Swapnaa Tamhane are among the artists featured in the exhibition. The Future Flow team took as its starting point the relationship between India and Scotland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which is a key cross-cutting theme of the Season of Culture. From Where I Stand is a collection of prints inspired by Castle Mills, the current home of Edinburgh Printmakers, who worked on the project with Flow India. The exhibition will retrace Scotland and India’s past industrial relationship and re-present it in the form of a forward-thinking print exhibition commissioned and produced by next generation visual arts curators capable of seeing things in new light.

Speaking ahead of the exhibition, artist Claire Barclay said: “The print works I make are informed by my sculptural practice, and usually presented in pairings or series that draw attention to the materials and methods of production. The relief prints I am creating for ‘Future Flow’ utilise cut wood and leather shapes with which I improvise during the printing process. The resulting works seem suggestive of unfamiliar functions or redundant objects from manufacturing contexts. I am interested to see if and how their ambiguous sense of functionality and materiality might translate to an audience in India. For the first time, I am using the facilities at Edinburgh Printmakers, and engaging with the printmaking community there. It is always enlightening to experience the subtly different approaches within other print workshop environments and to challenge and inspire new paths for the work.”

Artist Anupa Gardner said: “I am really excited to be making a new piece for ‘From Where I Stand’. My piece for this exhibition examines the idea of identity and home. I am creating my version of a paai, a South Indian grass mat by weaving together two prints (woodcuts) to symbolise the shifting nature of my relationship to both countries, Scotland and India.”

Artist Nishi Chodimella said: “From where I stand has allowed me to explore the language surrounding invasive plant species to draw parallels to mass migration of people. My aim is to spark conversation about the discourse on invasive species and to understand the nuances of the label.”

Future Flow is a new creative fellowship that is the first project of its kind in Scotland and India to connect and develop young art talent. Future Flow aims to empower young curators and producers to investigate shared issues confronting their generation. Aside from the touring exhibition, a new initiative will see the creation of an ongoing resource documenting the relationship between India and Scotland, exploring previously overlooked perspectives and histories.

From Where I Stand is one of the results of a 10-month programme in which the curatorial Future Flow fellowship investigates existing and potential future connections between India and Scotland while learning valuable industry skills. The exhibition is the second stage of a one-of-a-kind project to connect and develop young artists in Scotland and India. The first saw 20 participants, ten from India and ten from Scotland, go through a training and mentoring programme led by experienced arts managers, academics, and curators. The exhibition From Where I Stand was developed and delivered by 18 of these 20 people.