Ishara Art Foundation is pleased to present Sheher, Prakriti, Devi, an exhibition that marks artist and photographer Gauri Gill’s first extensive curation. Ruminating on the interwoven relationship between dynamic cities, the natural environment and the inseparable sacred, the show presents twelve artists and collectives working across diverse contexts of urban, rural, domestic, communitarian, public and non-material spaces.
Sheher, Prakriti, Devi comes from the Hindustani terms for ‘city’, ‘nature’ and ‘deity’. The exhibition germinates from Gill’s ongoing documentation of urban and semi-urban spaces in India since 2003 in a series titled ‘Rememory’ (after Toni Morrison). Gill offers a unique lens to regard cities as spaces of habitation that are shaped by multiple life-worlds. Together with various practitioners with whom she shares an affinity, the exhibition presents a world where built and natural structures are rendered porous by termites; gates open to unfinished roads; historical ruins become homes to migratory birds while pigeons become occupants of post-colonial houses; locusts bear witness to contemporary terrors and forests manifest as spirit sisters. In this show, viewers are invited to regard ecology as an overlap of cultural, natural and spiritual domains.
In Gill’s words, “Apart from the sheer beauty and multiple truths expressed by the different artists – from the mundane to the transcendental, the gross to the subtle, and, the manmade to the sacred – through this palimpsestic and idiosyncratic exhibition, I wish to acknowledge those who have found ways to stubbornly persist in their practice, often sharing their work only within their families and local communities, completely outside the circuits and networks of professional artists, contemporary art discourse, galleries and markets… Through this gathering of insistent voices we hope to consider the dualistic worlds of the depleted and regenerative, manmade and natural, colonial and Indigenous, young and old, English and non-English, mundane and magical, absent and present.”
Sheher, Prakriti, Devi includes works by Chamba Rumal, Chiara Camoni, Gauri Gill, Ladhki Devi, Mariam Suhail, Meera Mukherjee, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Rashmi Kaleka, Shefalee Jain, Sukanya Ghosh, Vinnie Gill and Yoshiko Crow.
Curated by Gauri Gill, in dialogue with Sabih Ahmed.
Artworks for this exhibition have been loaned from the private collections of Anant Art, Akar Prakar, the Pundole Family Collection, the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation, and the Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection.
Press release from Ishara Art Foundation
Image: Installation view of Sheher, Prakriti, Devi at Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai, 2024. Photography by Augustine Paredes/Seeing Things. Image courtesy of the artists and Ishara Art Foundation