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KNMA’s latest multi-artist exhibition appeals to everyone’s inner child

LifestyleKNMA’s latest multi-artist exhibition appeals to everyone’s inner child

Always at the forefront of the art world, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) in Delhi has just launched its latest multi-artist exhibition titled ‘Very Small Feelings’. It is the fourth exhibition in the ‘Young Artists of Our Times’ series, and is in collaboration with the Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka.
Roobina Karode, Director and Chief Curator at KNMA, says, “‘Very Small Feelings’ is nurtured by a dynamic working and collaborative effort between curators Akansha Rastogi and Diana Campbell, with the coming together of two institutions in South Asia, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Samdani Art Foundation. For viewers, the exhibition tends to become a space for action, emotion, exploration and reflection, with works of diverse scale, material and content.”
A curatorial collaboration between Rastogi (Senior Curator, KNMA), Campbell (Chief Curator, Dhaka Art Summit) Ruxmini Choudhury (Assistant Curator, Samdani Art Foundation), Avik Debdas and Swati Kumari (Curatorial and Research Associates, KNMA), this exhibition was first displayed at the Dhaka Art Summit in February this year.
The 42 distinctive projects currently on display at the Saket KNMA outlet range from newly commissioned work to historical pieces. There is art that covers multiple mediums, including performances, books, archival material, installations, movies and landscapes. What stands out amongst them all is the idea of youth as a concept, and not an age-related category.
In this regard, Rastogi, shares, “In many ways this exhibition is so much about the power of the oral and storytelling, its joys and everydayness, performativity of telling and retelling stories we know and how they change in each iteration, when the whole being is involved, with emotions, feelings, and intellect. The exhibition wants to access that place where there is a glow of discovery and realisations. There is an old saying, ‘Nothing is older than a child.’ ‘Very Small Feelings’ explores this circuitous, labyrinth-like adage as a provocation to turn the museum into a playground and creative space for intergenerational conversations. Children’s artworks placed along with well-known Indian, Bangladeshi and international artists’ works form an important part of the exhibition. And with that it turns the focus on artist-educators who work with young learners.”
As a not-for-profit institution, KNMA has always emphasised institutional collaborations, and support networks for artists and creative communities, while extending its reach to diverse audiences. The museum has a collection of over 10,000 artworks that focus on the historical trajectories of 20th-century Indian art, alongside the experimental practices of young contemporaries. KNMA was established through the initiative of art collector and philanthropist Kiran Nadar and is supported by the Shiv Nadar Foundation.
Its collaborative partner for VSF, the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), is a private arts trust based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was founded in 2011 by collector couple Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani to support the work of the country’s contemporary artists and architects. It is led by Campbell, and its intention is to support Bangladeshi artists flourish through production grants, residencies, education programs, and exhibitions. SAF also organises the bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit, a non-commercial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture related to South Asia, which re-examines how we think about these art forms in both a regional and broader context.
The sheer range of work on display at ‘Very Small Feelings’ crosses geographical boundaries and artistic shackles to find common ground. There are sculptural installations such as the one by Delhi-based artist Murari Jha, interactive installations like the one by Indonesian sibling duo Aditya Novali and Ade Dianita, site specific murals done by Finnish artist Jani Ruscica, and famed Berlin-based artist Simon Fujiwara’s new set of works on ‘Who the Bear’. Vietnamese artist Thao Nguyễn Phan’s installation ‘Tropical Siesta’ and Dutch artist Afra Eisma’s large play room-esque installation are other noteworthy exhibits by international artists.
Everything isn’t new. There is a historical element to the exhibition as well, seen through the work of artists Leela Mukherjee and Devi Prasad, Chittaprosad and Benode Behari Mukherjee. Author Amitav Ghosh’s book, ‘Jungle Nama’, is brought to life through an audio-visual presentation and illustrative collaboration with Salman Toor and Ali Sethi.
Artist-in-residence Nidhi Khurana has created her own take on books and will be present on site throughout the duration of the exhibition. Artworks made by children are another feature of this interesting exhibition, evident in the works on display as a result of the Artreach-KNMA Teaching Fellowship which has been ongoing since 2016 with different care homes in Delhi-NCR, among other project. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, which will be open to public till September 23, 2023, the museum will host a series of talks and events led by exhibiting artists. These will include performances, workshops, exhibition walkthroughs, public talks, and discussions. As an imaginative exhibition, this one is sure to appeal to the child within each of us.
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com.

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