Artists are attributed with the capacity to hold a mirror to their present, to reflect the status of a contemporary society or environment. At a time like the pandemic, with its multi-layered impact on everyday existence, human beings experience a plethora of responses, ranging from extremes of pessimism to positive motivations towards the future; applying different strategies and methods to address the (so-called) common enemy. Artists present their concerns and reactions in various ways as well, becoming conduits for the articulation of profound insights and transient emotions that find resonance with viewers.
Manohar Chiluveru has always used his art as a means of drawing connections between diverse histories and experiences. While being deeply invested in his roots, personal history and cultural identity, he has also established himself as a rational global citizen, adapting to new modes of communication and expression, and exploring cross-cultural connections as well as novel geographies through his multidisciplinary practice. His visual vocabulary is often based on the use of metaphors and symbols, gathered from his explorations and travels. Chiluveru creates strong socio-political and environmental commentaries while experimenting with diverse mediums, including site-specific works and interactive public art projects.
Art is the artist’s broader response to the period of the lockdown. Having observed and contemplated on the situation over several months his responses were directed towards the idea of providing support and healing within his ever expanding network. In a state of fear or hope, humans turn to divine intervention on the one hand, and scientific solutions on the other, one often conflicting with the other. In a deliberate move to attach a pragmatic edge to the notion of a divine prayer, Chiluveru’s project sees him offering his time and art as an everyday prayer for the community and as tokens of solidarity. Originating from Vedic tradition, the concept of ‘yagna’ (or yagam) connects to the process of ritual devotion through the specific offering of something, usually with fire as witness. Chiluveru translates this in contemporary experiential terms, the motif of the yagam addressing and carrying forward the concept of creation and sharing.
The 36-day long program will witness the artist working on painting and distributing these art works. In initiating this project he is also working towards building funds for NGOs and organisations that he is collaborating with. Art-Yagnam opens with a 24-hour live-painting activity, a practice he has engaged with in the past in order to put him into an immersive zone of intuitive painting. The rest of the days he will begin his day with a ‘Yagnam’ within a disciplined framework, painting, drawing or working on sculpture, allowing the process to evolve into varied dimensions.
His objective is to build connections – between the sacred and secular, between diverse people and communities and most significantly, between art and life. During the pandemic, when communities are distanced and individuals are isolated, when the world has shrunk into these screens on which our reality takes place, he envisions the positive role of an artist and the relevance of finding new perspectives in this transitional phase in human life on earth. – Lina Vincent 2020
She is an independent art historian and curator with close to two decades of experience in arts management. She is committed to socially engaged practices that reflect in multidisciplinary projects she has developed and participated in. The focus areas of her research and writing extend to projects with arts education, printmaking history and practice, the documentation of living traditions and folk arts in India, and environmental consciousness in the arts. Selected major projects and curatorial consultancies include “Between the Lines: Identity, Place and Power” – Selections from the Waswo X. Waswo collection of Indian printmaking, with an accompanying publication (NGMA Bengaluru, Mumbai – 2011-13); ‘Vernacular, in the Contemporary’ I & II, with Jackfruit Research and Design (Devi Art Foundation 2010-12); ‘Morphology of Archive: Connected Histories of Goa’, with Sabitha Sachi, MOG, Goa (2016); ‘Tabiyat: Medicine and Healing in India’ Wellcom Trust UK and CSMVS Mumbai (2016-17); ‘GOOD FOOD India’ -international arts program for climate-change awareness (Bengaluru – Hyderabad 2017-18); Micro/Macrocosm – International Print Exchange Program (multicity global exhibits 2018-19). She leads the ongoing Piramal Residency Artist Incubator Programme and is working on ‘GOA FAMILIA’ an ongoing archival documentation project for Serendipity Arts Foundation.
She has curated numerous exhibitions with galleries across India and continues to contribute to publications on contemporary art.