The exhibition comprises of the works of eight artists from the north eastern part of India including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Tripura. India’s North-East is immensely diverse in many ways, and the prime source of local identity is derived from tribal affiliation, and ethno-linguistic factors. The region is known for a multitude of conflicts and the geopolitical problems having both internal and external context.
Border areas have their own peculiarities and intricacies; often vulnerable to some issues like indigenous identity, sovereignty, and in recent years a huge influx of illegal infiltration of population. These add up the pressure on their social, economic and environmental resources.
What does it mean when we talk about “territory” today? The term does not simply refer to a geographical or spatial area; it carries an extensive horizon including social and cultural belongings and encompasses the personal, psychological and mental sphere. The works reflect different approaches, lifestyles, and ways of perceiving the unstable relationship within the borders. Some have explored the personal and observed narratives surrounding the struggles of flight, assimilation, threats of violence.
The exhibition also incites and expects a conceptual reflection on the distances or barriers, integrated in the perceptual context of a border, a blockage in thinking, acceptance and/or understanding by means of political issues, (im)migration, globalization, climate change, gender, race, culture, terrorism, genocide, war, misogynist behavior, feelings of fear or superiority and so on.
Today we live in the world of the rapid development of mobility, the digitization of communication and knowledge, migration and an increasingly global economy; they all have radically changed people’s perception of territories, borders, and boundaries. Now we know that real borders exist, but so do invisible ones – they contradict one another, and they establish very discordant conflicts at times. Here some of the artists have also looked at the terms ‘border’ and ‘terrain’ as its literal meaning, using them as a medium, building a story around them or considering them as metaphors in their works.
Text and photos: Akar Prakar Contemporary. The exhibition is curated by ZeroGravity Collective and is on view from July 23- August 16, 2019.