‘In what language does rain fall over tormented cities’, on at Gallery 27, uses rain as a metaphor of unity. “In a society that’s witnessing divisions over matters of religion, caste, colour and such, why not look at the things that are common to us?” asks Jitha Karthikeyan, artist and curator of the show. She adds, “Emotions like grief, conflict, pain and laughter are common to human beings, like rain that falls equally over us all.”
Coimbatore-based Jitha started curating art in 2018 and has selected eight artists to weave the narrative using their works. The difference, she explains is that she allowed the artists to interpret her curatorial statement and offer works related to it. She did not choose the art but allowed the artists to be active participants in the exhibition. “The artists were given the freedom to share their perspectives,” she says, adding that works are accompanied by artist’s statement.
Though rain remains unseen on the canvasses, it is sensed in the art through the colours of varied emotions. KT Mathai scours the city and finds the “city’s soul” in the nocturnal beings who walk the streets. His colourful works portray the marginalised in deep slumber after a day’s work. Aami Atmaja who transposes the word chitrakari (artist) into kithrachari paints, in watercolors, the cries of people as exaggerated smiles. PV Nandan’s train ferrying the fellow travellers is his interpretation of a shared, rain-washed journey. Madhu Venugoplan’s works express, Homeostasis, a balance without which human functionality is not possible. Anupama Alias interprets the common language of grief in her works, as “the continuation of cruelties all through history” and portrays a woman at the centre of it. Jyothiraj Mayampilly’s figurative works is a direct testimony to his experiences, he writes. He focusses on the lives of the farmers, directly impacted by rainfall. Mibin’s small framed objects and a central painting is of a sensitive conscious life and the fundamentals that make it happen. Rain sends Sujith SN into introspection and he retreats into his inner world. His six works reflect the conversations therein.
Jitha selected the artists on the basis of their art practice and connect with her own abstract emotional expressions.
In her curatorial note, titled after Pablo Neruda’s famous line, she possibly hopes for the divisions to be buried in a “cemetery of differences.”
The show concludes on September 25; Gallery 27 ,Star Junction, Mattancherry.