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American Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his 1984 photograph of an Afghan refugee with piercing green eyes (Sharbat Gula), is one of the most celebrated photojournalists of our time. His career started in 1978, after the work of Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson inspired him to take his first visit to India. This trip, on which McCurry used up 250 rolls of Kodachrome, would be the first of his more than 80 visits to the country.
Art. The Gujral Foundation presents My East is Your West. Artists from India and Pakistan collaborate for Venice Biennale 2015. 5 May – 31 October 2015.
Official Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale 2015. Shilpa Gupta (India) and Rashid Rana (Pakistan).
New Delhi, 21 January 2015: The Gujral Foundation is delighted to announce My East is Your West, an official collateral event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale, which unites for the first time at the Biennale the historically conflicting nations of India and Pakistan in a collaborative exhibition by artists from both countries.
Internationally recognised artists Shilpa Gupta (India) and Rashid Rana (Pakistan) will work together on a shared presentation located in the Palazzo Benzon, in the centre of Venice on the Grand Canal. As neither India nor Pakistan have a permanent national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, this presentation will provide a unique platform for artists from the Indian subcontinent to enter into a dialogue through the arts. My East is Your West is conceived by Feroze Gujral, Director and Founder of The Gujral Foundation, with Natasha Ginwala as Curatorial Advisor and Curator of Public Programming. The Gujral Foundation have partnered with the Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta on the project with Head Curator, Martina Mazzotta, programming collateral events in Italy.
The Gujral Foundation will be presenting a discussion about their project for the 56th Venice Biennale ‘My East is Your West’ at the YES Bank Spotlight Series at the upcoming 7th edition of India Art Fair 2015 on 30 January 2015 at 3.30pm. The speakers for this session are Feroze Gujral (Founder & Director, The Gujral Foundation), Shilpa Gupta (Artist, India), Rashid Rana (Artist, Pakistan) and Natasha Ginwala (Curatorial Advisor and Curator of Public Programming).
Born out of the desire to reposition the complex climate of historical relations between the South Asian nation-states of India and Pakistan, My East is Your West will present these two countries as a singular region within the context of the Venice Biennale. The thought of how the world would have been different had India and Pakistan not been measured by borders lies dormant but is ever present. In view of their practices, and as one artist from each country, Gupta and Rana have been invited to work together to create a unique presentation that will express the integral essence of a people divided, a history which spans antiquity, colonial modernity and a cosmopolitan present entangled in conflict.
This journey towards conceiving a shared platform in Venice builds on the artists’ concerns to negotiate between the individual and the communal in relation to the ‘everyday’ experiences of collective consciousness. Within their practices both artists explore notions of location and dislocation, transnational belonging, and the impact of cultural and political conditioning in determining our relationship to geographical and national territories. With works that challenge the modern nation-state and its divides, Gupta and Rana have developed a material aesthetic that surveys the potential of a common region, separate from the state and its model.
Feroze Gujral (Founder & Director, The Gujral Foundation) comments:
“Whilst we share a common history, we have a divided present. We are now working together for a more collaborative future.”