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As part of its ongoing theme ‘Art (is) Life’ the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) brings together acclaimed Indian artists Atul Dodiya and Asim Waqif in a conversational first.
Moderated by MAP’s Associate Curator Arnika Ahldag, the conversation will explore how the two artists who work with different mediums are both inspired by and constantly responding to the nature of space and built environments in their practice. Contrasting Dodiya’s work that often focuses on everyday life and is driven by the stories of people who inhabit spaces (particularly in the urban metropolis) with Waqif’s works that experiment with materiality, ecological structures and sustainable architecture, this talk investigates two unique approaches to making spaces and works of art come alive.
In collaboration with the Museum of Art & Photography
Through his paintings and assemblages, Atul Dodiya engages with both political and art history in a way that entwines global /public memory and local/personal experience. Dodiya combines images from Bollywood, popular cultural material like calendars and posters, studio photographs, newspapers, and from the works of a range of Indian and international artists. In his past works, he has used images from the works of modernist artists like Tyeb Mehta and even Bhupen Khakhar and Sudhir Patwardhan as a reflection on the act of painting itself. By doing this he pays homage to his influences, but also ‘borrows’ their identities through a kind of painting role-play: copying becomes a form of ‘channelling’ or re-enactment, weaving the master’s identities and ideas to Dodiya’s own, and vice versa. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
Asim Waqif (born 1978, Hyderabad) studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. After initially working as an art director for film and television, he later started making independent video and documentaries before moving into a dedicated art practice. His recent projects have attempted to crossover between architecture, art and design, with a strong contextual reference to contemporary urban planning (or the lack thereof) and the politics of occupying, intervening in, and using public spaces. Some of his projects have developed within abandoned and derelict buildings in the city that act like hidden activity spaces for the marginalized.
Concerns of ecology and anthropology often weave through his work and he has done extensive research on vernacular systems of ecological management, especially with respect to water, waste and architecture. His artworks often employ manual processes that are deliberately painstaking and laborious while the products themselves are often temporary and sometimes even designed to decay. He has worked in sculpture, site-specific public installation, video, photography, and more recently with large-scale interactive installations that combine traditional and new media technologies.
Waqif has held solo shows at Nature Morte, New Delhi and Galerie Templon, Paris in 2013, and the Palais Tokyo, Paris in 2012. His works have recently been included in the Asia Pacific Triennal 8 at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; the Queens Museum, New York; Blain/Southern Gallery, Berlin; the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon; and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida.
Arnika Ahldag is the associate curator at MAP. As an art historian, she investigates the representation of labour in Indian contemporary art. Her curatorial projects include the public programme for IAF 2020 and Mapping Gender: Bodies and Sexualities in the Global South at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. As an artist, she works in video and performance and her recent projects were shown at the Bhubaneswar Art Trail, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Modern Art and Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi. She co-founded the Feminist Syllabus, which is part of the workshop series Pact of Silence, How to break it, a programme for intersectional feminist discourses in the arts. Over the past years, she lectured at the National School of Drama and OP Jindal Global University in New Delhi. She is a PhD candidate at JNU and holds an MA from University College in London, UK and Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany.