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A Changing World

Arpita Singh’s canvases in her solo exhibition Meeting at Vadehra Art Gallery in Delhi were awash in shades of blue. In several of her paintings on display, it appeared as if tides carrying flotsam and jetsam had swept over them, generating surfaces swimming with detail. Nowhere was this more evident than in the poignantly titled The swans did not come back this year. Irregular patches of white, oddly reminiscent of corrugated roofs of shanty houses, peppered the waterscape as did a few stretches of brown and lettering in differing colours and sizes. If in the past Singh inserted flora or custard apples to fill in empty spaces in the pictorial plane, then here her flower fetish was strangely absent.

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Nasreen Mohamedi: Singularity and Sociability

Nasreen Mohamedi’s hand-written letter to her close friend, artist Nilima Sheikh exudes a sense of both restraint and tenderness. With her formal handwriting, she composes what appears as a verse of concrete poetry – simultaneously referencing and exploring ideas of space – on a piece of graph paper. Providing a window into the late Modernist’s preoccupations with nature, abstraction, and the limits of perception, this letter, describing the seashore at Kihim, also inspires the title of her latest retrospective at Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation (JNAF) – Nasreen Mohamedi: The Vastness, Again and Again.

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Weaving a World: Kanishka Raja’s Ground Control

Bright as a computer game on a screen, Ground Control began with references to music, borrowing its title from David Bowie, and has an aerial perspective, if not the tin-can view. Is the artist Ground Control and who is Major Tom? The roles reverse playfully, and the show, like a game, moves effortlessly between footprints of buildings, courts and playing fields, and outlines of urban spaces. The vibrant several shades of colour — earthy oranges and reds, purples, greens, blues — are interspersed with bold white lines, which resemble chalk or markers on a field.

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International Reviews

Imprinting Nature: Simryn Gill’s Naga Doodles

In the display case next to the skin is a nature-printed image made in Madras in 1857 by Henry Smith. Unlike Gill’s snakes, Smith’s specimen was artfully laid out in an elegant sinuosity, its two surfaces inked to yield a mirror-image pair when passed through a printing press. There is a history behind the contemporary work. Smith was a government printer, who claimed originality to his method of nature-printing (a process that has always been somewhat experimental), but one that was taken up by Hugh Cleghorn who in South India made many simple black prints of plant and tree parts as part of the earliest phase of the conversion of tropical forests into plantations: in his case for coffee and cinchona.

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The Street and the Gallery: Shahidul Alam’s Archives of Practices

In bearing witness to the historical and the everyday, Alam continuously blurs the boundaries between the aesthetic, the political and the personal. Simultaneously, the retrospective showcased Alam’s critique of the Global South’s erasure from the history of photography and how his prominent presence in the “West” is a corrective towards decolonizing photography.

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Between Warp and Weft: On Kallol Datta’s Textile Objects

Datta’s objects carry secrets around knots and folds at the kernel, and point to his practice of cutting patterns in a circular fashion at the formative stage. The circular pattern-cutting registers as an attempt to eliminate the possibility of waste, where the leftover fabric is turned into appendages for the installations.

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Current Issue


South Asia

“The 30th issue of TAKE South Asia delves into the multifaceted processes of construction and deconstruction about the region, only to investigate the motivations behind these actions undertaken by the political agents through the lens of visual arts. The writers seek to and make an attempt to answer the questions raised regarding what constitutes ‘South Asia’, beyond its popular substitute i.e., Indian Subcontinent. In other words, the writings explore the novelty of (re)imagining the region as a shared cultural space and uncovering the underlying stakes and ideologies fuelling such constructions. This investigation is inclusive of the diverse meanings of regionalism, including sentiments of belonging expressed through art practices and efforts to establish socio- cultural institutions for nation-state collaboration.” -An excerpt from Editorial Note, Bhavna Kakar, Editor-in-Chief, TAKE on Art “The TAKE South Asia issue began with a recognition of the robust work that has been carried out by scholars, teachers, artists, curators, writers and organisations over several decades, reflecting on and complicating what ‘South Asia’ signifies. We invited several of those voices to respond to a set of questions we sent out, with the flexibility that they could pick any one or more. These questions served as the provocations for what we anticipated would lead to a stimulating exercise of reflections and propositions. Over the past months, we received an array of responses, both from within the subcontinent and several from diasporic positions. All of these are telling of the different political and art historical urgencies being felt across distant vantage points. We also received a series of artist interventions that are presented here, since art remains a vehicle and site for the sayable, the unsayable, and what will one day be said. Ishara Art Foundation expresses its heartfelt gratitude to everyone who so generously contributed to the magazine with their incisive reflections and fearless thought.” An excerpt from The Many ‘South Asia’s Sabih Ahmed, Director, Ishara Art Foundation

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Inside South Asia

‘What is South Asia Today’

Pedagogical Networks in South Asia

Connecting South Asian Modernities

South Asia, and the Possibility of Co-habitation

South Asia as Affiliation and Aspiration

Stephanie Rosenthal and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa in Conversation Akin to the Mangrove

‘South Asia’: Definitional Impossibilities and Potentialities

‘South Asia’ and Pop Art

In Defense of Illegibility

What ‘South Asia’ Signifies Today

Resistance and Solidarity: S(h)ifting Through Political Ripples of South Asia

Pathways of Affinities

Art and Power: Networks of Patronage in Contemporary South Asia

Team TAKE in Conversation with Lekha Poddar

Bhavna Kakar in Conversation with Kiran Nadar

Coming Of Age: India As The Epicentre of Contemporary South Asian Art

An Incredible Journey : Bengal Beyond Boundaries

Weaving Identity: Reclamation of Craft

Analogous Relation of Arts and Objects

Very Small Feelings

Chemould@60: From Framing to Futuring the Art of the City and the City of Art

Dark Was the Night

Memoirs of Unremembered Spaces: Between Nostalgia and Ecological Changes

Becoming for Voice Against Reason

Sudarshan Shetty: Between Ruin and Recovery

Beyond The Page: South Asian Miniature Painting And Britain, 1600 To Now

Decolonising Museums: South Asian Diaspora Representation in the United Kingdom

nafas: Isolation Diaries

When Indian Flowers Bloomed in Europe Masterworks of Indian Trade Textiles, 1600-1780, in the TAPI Collection

International Departures: Art in India after Independence

Bhavna Kakar in conversation with Yuko Hasegawa Digital Transformation Planet

Dilpreet Bhullar in conversation with Sunil Kant Munjal Celebration of Serendipity Arts Foundation

Of Reimagination and Revitalisation: Experimenter Curators’ Hub

Kavita Singh (1964-2023)

South Asia and Santiniketan

Faces Beyond Time: The World According to Ravinder Reddy

TAKE Features


Stories of Light and Song: Contemporary Practices in Asia

Step into Stories of Light and Song: Contemporary Practices in Asia (henceforth, SoLS) -- exhibited at the Sarala Birla Gallery, Terrace and Lawn of BAAC. SoLS is a group show featuring the works of Baaran Ijlal, Gidree Bawree Foundation of Arts, Ranbir Kaleka and Sudharak Olwe. It comprises a travelling sound archive; a site-specific, collaborative bamboo installation by craftsmen from West Bengal and Bangladesh; video-art; and photography.

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TAKE Calendar: The South Asian Edit 2024

The South Asian arts scene has been at its peak. With experimentation in mediums and innovative platforms, South Asia and its diasporic artists constantly strive to push the envelope of contemporary art. To bolster this wave of energy, there are multiple key events that highlight, empower and uplift South Asian visual voices. Here is a curated guide to important art events across the globe that all South Asian art connoisseurs must bookmark. The year is marked with a promising line up of art fairs, festivals, public installations, and biennales. Let the 2024 art hop begin!

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Devraj Dakoji – A Force of Nature

Dakoji’s journey of artistic production has been prolific. His training in printmaking under the tutelage of powerful thinkers such as K.G.Subramanyan and Jyoti Bhatt during his stint at M.S. University Baroda in the mid-60s; his post-graduate studies at the Chelsea School of Arts in the mid-70s through a British Council scholarship; and his later presence at the Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque New Mexico U.S.A in the early 90s, all contributed to the immense possibilities he found in the print process. Keen on new experiences, Dakoji found inspiration in travels that took him through England and Europe, as well as across India.

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Looking from an ‘Aesthetic Distance’: Photographing Babasaheb Ambedkar in Vellore

An ambiance of trepidation prevails in most of the Dalit localities of Vellore; thus as an outsider, these statues appear appealing only if seen from an ‘aesthetic distance’, and Marcelo abided by it. Being a foreigner in India, his social identity was not perceived as a threat to the community and he operated from a rather safer zone. His photographs read these sculptures in many layers, forcing the viewers to engage with critical contexts. They often evoke a sense of ambivalence between the ideas of sacred and profane, haptic and the optic. The cage act like a barrier between the viewer and the viewed.

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200 Years and Counting: Brasilia, Art and Architecture: Manan Shah in conversation with Leticia Marranghello

The museums traditionally have been the representatives of history and human civilisation. Over the course of time, they have evolved to have a multi-disciplinary nature in terms of having an audience-friendly milieu by including a variety of programs and outreach activities. In the said manner, Bihar Museum in Patna has been working towards creating an environment which attracts visitors, providing information with an interactive experience. Bihar Museum, moving beyond the place of traditional knowledge systems, has forged to become a space for cultural exchange, inviting national and international artists, speakers and exhibitions to Patna.

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Take Editions

Unique, limited editioned and handcrafted affordable artworks by eminent artists exclusively commissioned for TAKE on Art.