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Delhi art diary: Reimagining traditional with new mediums

Delhi art diary: Reimagining traditional with new mediums

The realms of mystery and metaphor come together to blur the boundaries between contemporary craft, conceptual art and artisanal design by six artists from India and Italy at an ongoing exhibition in the city, titled Vita Nova – A New Life. Inspired by Italian poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri’s literature, the show explores transformations, connections and departures in present-day art and craft between the two countries.

The artists — Andrea Anastasio, Francesco Simeti, Marta Roberti, Puneet Kaushik, Raghava KK, and Shilo Shiv Suleman — are showcasing a range of handmade techniques such as woodcuts, block prints, embroidery, tapestry, metal forging, blue pottery, miniatures, bidri, ceramics, clay and cardboard making. Bangaluru-based multidisciplinary artist Raghava’s work traverses traditional forms of painting, installation and performances mixed with new media to express contemporary realities. He shares, “The art of craftsmanship is dying in India and I wanted to bring it back with the use of technology in this new world. My work brings together generations of craftsmanship and new technology, the materiality of different mediums and a new encounter.”

Maria Roberti’s work employs Aari embroidery by Kashmiri artisans. Drawing is the medium she uses in her installations and animated videos to explore the relationship between the East and the West.

For Italian artist Roberti, metamorphosis is at the heart of her work. “S’io Mi Intuassi Come Tu Ti Inmii consists of a series of drawings made on Yunnan paper, which embroiderers in Kashmir translated into tapestries made with the chain stitch technique,” shares Roberti. Drawing is the medium she uses in her installations and animated videos to explore the relationship between the East and the West.

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An artwork by Puneet Kaushik, who has been travelling across the Indian subcontinent to document art and craft making techniques and cultural histories of the artisanal communities in south Asia.
An artwork by Puneet Kaushik, who has been travelling across the Indian subcontinent to document art and craft making techniques and cultural histories of the artisanal communities in south Asia.

Shedding some light on the artistic similarities between the two countries, curator Myna Mukherjee says, “Both Italy and India have art practices that have long histories of craft traditions and some of the most contemporary and conceptual art. Vita Nova is an eclectic immersion into the conceptual craft futures.”

Davide Quadrio, who has co-curated the exhibition, adds, “This collaboration taught me to give up control, and opened up possibilities for non-egocentric practices.”

Catch It Live

What: Vita Nova – A New Life

Where: Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, 50-E, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri

On till: May 31

Timing: 10am to 5pm

Nearest Metro Station: Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus on Pink Line

Author tweets @AngelaPaljor

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