Border crossing
Saqib Sarker Arts & Culture

A journey through South Asian art, post-Partition and pre-Independence

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    Photo- Safiuddin Ahmed, In Memory of 71
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    Photo- Rashid Choudhury, Adam, Courtesy of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy

This exhitibition is a unique opportunity to view and experience art history and historic arts. The project assembles works from public and private collections in Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and the United States that chart the diverse manifestations of abstraction in pre-1980s South Asia. 

On display
Rewind features more than 90 works by 13 artists associated with Bangladesh, Burma, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. These are abstract depictions by notable artists. 

The exhibition explores how three generations of artists have responded to shifting cultural, political, and social contexts with experiments in abstraction, or the relationship between representation and abstraction — even when some of their primary practices are or were firmly rooted in figuration.

Time machine
The majority of the works on view were produced between the late 1940s and the late 1970s, a period that witnessed the Independence of India and Pakistan from Britain and the devastating Partition of the subcontinent, followed by several major conflicts including the Liberation War of Bangladesh. 

The extreme political and social upheaval of that time created impressions on these artists that could not possibly have escaped the work done at that time. With that perception or presumption, the artworks are now unique pieces of history that are extraordinary windows into the past. 

Transcending borders
The unique voices and visions of these artists enable the spectators to see through borders and get a sense of the role that modernity played in our collective consciousness. 

“From the pared-down calligraphic scrawls of Aung Soe, Shemza, and Singh; and the distillations of natural and human form undertaken by Reddy, Ahmed, Sultan, and Krull; to the experiments with light, pattern, and flatness of Choudhury, Malani, Padamsee; the works in Rewind embody some of the ways in which modernism has played out within and beyond the region,” the curators said.

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