Anomalies will differ from other recent exhibitions that have attempted to define Indian or South Asian art. It includes the work of fourteen South Asian women artists, the majority of whom were born or live in the UK or US, and consequently their work occupies a complex position rooted in familiar urban aesthetics while referencing multiple visual traditions. Arriving from disparate points of origin, the work presented in this exhibition is representational, and examines the intersections of human nature, human interaction with nature and science fiction.
Entering a dialogue that has long been the domain of male artists, this exhibition proposes additional dimensions by playfully revealing current anxieties about the survival of our species. Many of the invited artists study the symbiotic relationship between living creatures and our planet – the yearning to be close to nature and fear of what the future holds. Maria Benjamin’s videos show people mimicking stuffed bears in the Museum of Natural History; Nazneen Ayyub-Wood self-transforms into a cat; Hamra Abbas’ oversize baby clutches cobras; Neeta Madahar’s series observes birds at her feeder over the seasons; while in Nidhi Jalan’s claymation, a girl and a vulture lovingly devour each other. Mithu Sen, Mequitta Ahuja, Anna Bhushan and Chitra Ganesh have visions of fantastical beings while Simrin Mehra Agarwal, Jaishri Abichandani and the Otolith Group present startling prospects for the future. Rina Banerjee and Sa’dia Rehman fabricate surreal installations with organic and artificial materials, bringing a visceral explosion of materials and forms into the gallery space.
The exhibition presents work in a variety of media: performances by Sonia Mehta and Nazneen Ayyub-Wood, video, photography, installation, sculpture, drawing and painting. Maria Benjamin has designed the catalogue with an original essay by Shaheen Merali. Participating artists are Hamra Abbas, Jaishri Abichandani, Mequitta Ahuja, Nazneen Ayyub-Wood, Rina Banerjee, Maria Benjamin, Anna Bhushan, Chitra Ganesh, Nidhi Jalan, Neeta Madahar, Simrin Mehra Agarwal, the Otolith Group, Sa’dia Rehman, and Mithu Sen.