For five years, Garima Gupta has been engaged in intensive research across Southeast Asia and parts of Oceania — from studying wildlife hunters in the forests of New Guinea to taxidermy-related trade in Thailand. In 2017, her observations translated into a solo show titled Minutes of the Meeting that included sketches and videos. This week, she’s back with another exhibition at Colaba’s TARQ titled ‘filed under: a/muse/um’.
Elaeis guineensis, 2020
Primarily exploring, what she refers to as the “roots” and “shoots” of wildlife trade in the region, the visual format of the show leans on the work from her previous solo. “Back then, I had exhibited pages from a notebook I carried around for my research work across Southeast Asia and New Guinea. But by the time ‘filed under: a/muse/um’ was already on the horizon, I had started questioning the very idea of notebooks,” she shares over email.
Rothschild’s bird, 2020
So, who collects information and for what purpose? The list, she says, is an ominous one featuring ethnographers of 16th century mining companies who get a whiff of gold nuggets down the river and bioprospectors who ‘stumble upon’ a great new herb that can push the pharma business. They keep the notebooks safe, and not for the public eye. Instead, Gupta decided to open up notebooks, take out pages, and look at them as a puzzle.
The show comprises over 30 drawings. And for Gupta, there are three core messages that she hopes viewers soak in: “That the land and ocean we inhabit are fragile ecospheres, and are interconnected in ways we haven’t fully comprehended; that Newton wasn’t joking when he said that every action (force) in nature has an equal and opposite reaction, and that this reaction is taking place, right now. We are living it. And if the right measures aren’t put in place, we will see this fragile fabric fray.”
On October 8 to November 12, 11 am to 5 pm (Wednesday to Saturday; by appointment only)
At F35/36, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
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