Aji V N
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The first issue, January 2021, features two paintings by Aji V N who was trained in art colleges in Trivandrum and New Delhi. He was subsequently exposed to classical Western painting, oscillating with ease between distinct cultural spaces and histories. His pictorial language is of astonishing singularity, creating otherworldly landscapes of velvety textures and tonal density.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into rare works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The February 2021 issue features three works by Lionel Wendt, one of Asia’s earliest modern photographers. Inspired by the surrealistic experiments of Many Ray, he worked with photomontage, solarization, and double printing. Famous for his refined bromide and gelatin silver prints, Wendt’s choice of subjects ranged from sensual portraits to spectacular landscapes and object studies.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The third issue features three works by Ali Kazim, one of Pakistan’s leading artists in contemporizing miniature painting with a conceptual approach. Using traditional techniques, his meticulous brushwork creates highly detailed pictorial compositions. Set against flat, monochrome backgrounds, his protagonists appear as ‘reservoirs of mystery’, manifesting a sense of other-worldliness and solitude.
K R Sunil
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The fourth issue features the series 'Home' by K R Sunil, one of India’s most prominent photographers. Shot along the Kerala seashore, the fourteen black-and-white photographs are a cautionary tale on climate change and displacement. While the coast is a place of leisure for the modern affluent, coastal communities have no choice but to dwell in proximity to the sea. Worshipped by them as a life-sustaining force, the sea has been gradually swallowing land, claiming their houses and homeland.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The fifth issue features works by Vasantha Yogananthan. Working in analogue photography, he has extensively travelled across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal to create his ambitious seven-part project, ‘A Myth of Two Souls’. A contemporary retelling of the Hindu epic the ‘Ramayana’, it marries scenes from daily life with staged photography, sometimes delicately hand-painted and collaged. Shot in medium and large formats, 'A Myth of Two Souls’ is situated at the intersection of documentary and fiction.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The sixth issue, June 2021, features recent works by New Delhi based artist Ayesha Singh. Working across a wide range of media, her practice subverts the socio-political hierarchies often associated with architecture and national symbols. Singh creates sites of debates to question the assumed permanence of emblems of nationhood and the layered histories they embody.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The sixth issue features a special series by Lubna Chowdhary, who subverts the traditional context of her chosen medium – clay – to address a longstanding preoccupation with urbanisation and material culture. ‘Certain Times’, composed of variously shaped tiles on wall-mounted shelves and hand-glazed by Chowdhary, stands for an artistic practice that has long sought to stake out a conciliatory common ground between various binaries: ornamental excess and minimal restraint, industrial and handmade, East and West.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The eighth issue features paintings by Mumbai-based Dhruvi Acharya that are characterised by psychologically complex narratives, peppered with dark humour. Transforming human forms of her mostly female protagonists to echo their temperaments, Acharya often deploys empty speech or thought bubbles to convey states of solitude and self-doubt. Drawing from her own life, her oeuvre unravels like a personal diary — it showcases an urban woman’s tribulations in a world seething with gender disparities, racial inequalities as well as societal pressures.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art that are informed by South Asian connections and traditions. The ninth issue features textile works by Hardeep Pandhal who lives and works in Glasgow. Straddling the complexities of identity as a second generation British-Sikh, he considers identity rife with conflict, but also an acerbic sense of humour. In ‘The Lord Tebbit Series’, he embroiders cricket jumpers with ghoulish faces or body parts. The ghastliness of the jumpers recalls the odious ‘cricket test’ pioneered by Lord Tebbit in the 1990s. This ‘formula’ evaluated an immigrant citizen’s acculturation and loyalty to England by measuring his commitment to English cricket teams.
Spotlight offers privileged insight into selected works of art from the Indian subcontinent. The tenth issue features works by Ritesh Meshram. Known for his inventive use of varied metals, his most recent sculptures — giving the impression of familiarity as though they were made of components one could purchase in a hardware store or recover from a scrap heap — are reductive in form with a touch of punning humor. Surrendering to the capricious twists and curves of the metal, Meshram’s sculptural practice negotiates unpredictability while skillfully exploring gravity, volume, balance and scale.