Gallery: Check out NGV’s celebration of contemporary India ‘Transforming Worlds’

Gallery: Check out NGV’s celebration of contemporary India ‘Transforming Worlds’

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words by sidonie bird de la coeur

‘Transforming Worlds: Change and Tradition in Contemporary India’, an exhibition that explores the country’s unique and diverse artistic traditions opens at NGV International tomorrow.

With a focus on more than 60 recent acquisitions that have never been displayed, Transforming Worlds: Change and Tradition in Contemporary India seeks to present a dynamic and thought-provoking experience. Showcasing work from established and emerging artists alike, Transforming Worlds features artworks from all across India – from the Gond and Wali painters of central India, Suthar, Jogi, Santal and Madhubani artists of northern India; and the Kalighat and Chitrakar painters of eastern India.

What you need to know

  • Transforming Worlds is a new exhibition at NGV International that showcases contemporary and traditional Indian art
  • The exhibition will feature more than sixty recent never-before-seen artworks
  • Entry is free and it will run from April 9 to August 28

Keep up to date with Melbourne’s latest art events, exhibitions and performances here.

“India is home to many distinct indigenous and regional communities renowned for having developed unique artistic styles that incorporate specialised materials and techniques,” states Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. “With many of the works on display having been created in the last three years and in response to pressing local and international events, some of which are still ongoing, this exhibition is a timely celebration of the continuing relevance of centuries-old artistic traditions.”

A strong focus of the exhibition is the introduction and spread of COVID-19 throughout India. Within emerging artist Sonia Chitrakar’s large-scale contemporary examples of patachitra, a traditional storytelling cloth that can span up to five meters in length, we see documentations of the pandemic in lieu of traditional folklore. Further explorations of the pandemic include Apindra Swain’s paintings Wash Hands (2020) and Stay Home (2020), which use traditional iconography to create community education tools.

Another highlight of the exhibition is the inclusion of the intricate drawings of the Jogi family, who first developed their style in the 1970s to depict stories that were traditionally passed down through song. Transforming Worlds features recent drawings by three generations of Jogi women present at the exhibition, depicting urban development, social and gender dynamics and worship.

Transforming Worlds: Change and Tradition in Contemporary India will run at NGV International on St Kilda Road from April 9 to August 28. Entry is free.

Find out more about the exhibition here.