Punascha Parry - a title borrowed from the eponymous book by the painter Nirode Mazumdar, which could be translated as "a resonance of Paris" - is an exhibition conceived as a journey, in which archives and images come together to form a narrative, a possible memory.
The history of the colonization of India is long and complex, the archives scattered and incomplete - especially regarding art history. An observation that Samit Das (Pernod Ricard Fellow 2017) makes as an historian and an artist, leading him to propose an original mapping of India. The exhibition examines the visual vocabulary of Indian modern art in an attempt to re-evaluate the idea of modernism through the lives, works and destinies of Indian artists in Paris. Samit Das, revisiting some ignored sections of the artistic and intellectual life of Paris in the twentieth century, combines his works with those of Indian artists who have stayed or lived in Paris and whose trajectories remain ignored or unknown.
Most of the exhibited works have never been shown in Paris; their display is the result of an investigation conducted by Samit Das and Sumesh Sharma (associate research curator) with witnesses of that time, but also their families, friends and fellow artists. It is therefore aesthetic but also political and intimate articulations that the exhibition will show, putting into perspective the constitution of a discourse on the history of art in the context of contemporary Indian nationalism of the years of struggle for independence.
Samit Das (1970, Jamshedpur, Inde) studied fine arts at the Santiniketan Kala Bhavan before attending a post Experience program at Camberwell College of Arts in London through a British Council Scholarship. As an artist, he specializes in painting, photography, interactive artworks, artists’ books as well as in creating multi-sensory environments through art and architectural installations. He also has a deep interest in archiving and documentation, in search of a new visual vocabulary through images and text. Samit Das has held several solo shows as well as group shows in India and abroad, including the United States, France and the United Kingdom. He was notably part of the Dakar Biennale, Senegal. His most recent solo shows include exhibitions with TARQ and Clark House Initiative in Mumbai and Gallery Espace in New Delhi. He has documented the Tagore house Museum in Kolkata (1999-2001). Samit Das started his research on Santiniketan Architecture during his MFA studies, which resulted in a book titled Architecture of Santiniketan: Tagore’s concepts of space (Niyogy Books, Delhi). He has curated several history-based exhibitions like The Idea of space and Rabindranath Tagore and Resonance of Swami Vivekananda and Art of Nandalal Bose, with support by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. His artist’s book, Hotel New Bengal, was released in 2009 (Onestar Press, France).
In 2011 he has received the BRIC scholarship to visit Italy and in 2016 he was awarded a Research scholarship from ProHelvetia New Delhi to visit the Sitterwerk library and archive in Switzerland. He was awarded the 2017 Pernod Ricard Fellowship to work on modern Indian painters with a connection to Paris.
Sumesh Sharma is an artist, curator & writer. He co-founded the Clark House Initiative, Bombay in 2010 where he presently is the curator. His practice is informed by alternate art histories that often include cultural perspectives informed by socio-economics and politics. Immigrant Culture in the Francophone, Vernacular Equalities of Modernism, Movements of Black Consciousness in Culture are his areas of interest. He co-founded the Clark House Initiative in 2010. He will curate an exhibition at the Showroom, London in 2018. He was invited curator to the Biennale de Dakar, Dak’Art 2016 and Checkpoint Helsinki in 2015. He has curated exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Metropolitan Museum, New York, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, Para Site Hong Kong, Villa Vassilieff, Paris, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, ISCP New York, Insert 2014, New Delhi among others. He has been a resident at the Latvian Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Manifesta Online Residency, San Art, Vietnam, Cites des Arts, Paris, and was the ICI fellow for Senegal in 2014 where he researched how the funding mechanisms in culture and institutional support of art institutions utilise the power structures put in place by colonial laws. His artist practice seeks layers through political materiality and art historical & theoretical failures while discussing the visual. His Masters in Research at the Universite Paul Cezanne (2008) was an Inquiry into Artist Careers.