Nalini Malani | Cassandra's Gift
19 January – 22 February 2014 | D-53 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024
The solo exhibition titled Cassandra’s Gift by internationally acclaimed artist Nalini Malani from January 18 – February 22, 2014. For more than four decades, committed to the role of the artist as social activist, Malani is unsparing in her condemnation of a cynical nationalism that exploits the beliefs of the masses. She often bases her work on the stories of those that have been ignored, forgotten or marginalised by history.
One of the pioneers of new media art in the Indian context, Malani’s work has, given her idealism to reach a wider audience, expanded the dimensions of the pictorial surface into surrounding space through ephemeral wall drawings in combination with erasure performances, theatre, shadow play, multi projection works and video/shadow plays. Malani’s intense and committed art reveals her search for the profound certainties of life, of society, of experience-persisting 'evidence', which is encountered and felt.
Speaking on the exhibition, Malani says, “The contents of Cassandra’s Gift are concentrated on the possibility that humankind foresees the events of the future - that he/she really 'listens' to what is happening around. Often this listening is (self) blocked and our (over) communication goes in all directions but is not effective. Instead of experiencing the community, the political world and nature as one organism, we live by economic and military principles of divide and rule.”
In Malani’s works myths often combine with historical events and enter what she terms the ‘contemporary psychic arena’. They speak of traces, of repressed memories that re-surface in the present. For the Vadehra Art Gallery exhibition, Malani returns to the tragic figure of Cassandra from Greek mythology. Cassandra bears the curse of Apollo: her prophecies are distrusted and her voice remains unheard and strangled.
Nalini Malani 1946, Karachi, (Undivided India). Lives and works in Bombay/Amsterdam. Nalini Malani secured a Diploma in Fine Arts from Sir JJ School of Arts, Bombay, 1969 and the French Government Scholarship for Fine Arts to study in Paris from 1970 to 1972. In 2010 she was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2013 she won the Fukuoka Prize for Art and Culture.