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Autograph commissioned ten UK-based visual artists – Mohini Chandra, Poulomi Desai, Joy Gregory, Othello De’Souza-Hartley, Sonal Kantaria, Ope Lori, Dexter McLean, Karl Ohiri, Silvia Rosi and Aida Silvestri – to create new work responding to the wider contexts of Covid-19, looking closely at their immediate environments.
The interdisciplinary artworks they produced represent thoughtful reflections on changing conditions of existence: generous invitations for us to think about what it means to be human and to care for one another. Using primarily photography and video, the artists reflect both carefully and critically – and often very personally – on the impact of the pandemic, exploring ideas of loss, family, home, belonging and diaspora while considering different lived experiences, and the inevitability of change.
The diverse range of works created for Care | Contagion | Community —Self & Other include a conceptual equation for humanity; intricate visual diaries; photo-action-paintings highlighting the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on communities of colour and essential workers; performative self-portraits; and experimental imagery inoculated with mould and bacterial growth, metaphors for the economics of care and control. – Autograph ABP
This exhibition was the first one I saw this year, 2022. I went to the gallery on a weekday. It was very quiet and I got to see the work uninterrupted which was nice.
The exhibition was only on the ground floor of the gallery space. If you have been to Autograph before, you will know that they also have a room on the first floor where they showcase more artwork.
For a group exhibition, even though it felt small, there was so much to take in as you got to see each person’s contribution. Everyone’s project felt so different, yet they were all tied in with one common thread as the whole world felt the impact the pandemic had and continues to have in our lives.
One of my favourites had to be Mohini Chandra’s video installation Belated, 2020, a poetic short film where she explores her local church near where she lives in South West of England. At the end of the film, there is an Indian dancer with ankle bells to replace the silence of the church bells during the lockdown. Also, in this film, you weren’t too sure if you were watching a still or moving image as you listened to a poem by Rabindranath Tagore (1892) which was also translated by Ananda Lal and Sukanta Chaudhuri. I was engrossed.
I did manage to do a quick Exhibition Vlog and you can watch it here:
I will leave you with this thought.
Not everyone can make it to see exhibitions and this is why I do these vlogs. Once the show ends, other than via the gallery, how else can one see how it looked from the view of a regular visitor to these spaces?
If you have reached here, thank you for reading my blog post.
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