South Asia

final IMG_0528

Nikhil Chopra, Live Performance DrawingRouge series, 3 Dec 2019

Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge

Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan

Caged, stripped bare to skin, wild bodily hair engulfs, yet cushions a man crushed and curled in his metamorphic act, seeking purpose. Piercing gaze, troubled memories shared – abandoned soul(s) – tragically ripped, emptied of life’s vigour… eternally imprisoned – in the tragedy of loss.

A quest to seek familiarity, reclaim self, in a dandy-fashioning and posturing seductive ego to find (a) home, means landscapes and territorial lines are redrawn (again), reimagined and this in lipstick red – a mischievously skilled etchings of sorts unfold, playful poetry performed, engaging publics to close loops of separation… isolation. Solidarity and commonalities at the fore of multiplicities of what we were, are and could become, realised in the smudging and cloud of scenic paint.

In the etchings the hills continue to bleed though, or is it simply autumn? Any acts of defiance or rebellion to liberate shackles, are left awkwardly floating, nowhere to rise or fall but back into the gravitational pull of a dark sea of despair. So… euphoria short-lived, cruelly taken in a landscape of lifeless khoon and surreal dystopian traps, yet in its melancholic detail and aura of contemplation there is a magnificent exuberance – textured in an ink that kisses walls – in the “illusion of infinity” (Chopra 2019).

Touched but do not touch the art.

More information about the performance here.

About Nikhil Chopra

Nikhil Chopra is a performance artist whose work generally centres on the remnants of India’s colonial past. Deeply influenced by his Kashmiri identity, Chopra creates characters that are not fixed in time or space, not historically accurate, yet immensely real and endearing. As a performance artist, Chopra collapses the boundaries between theatre and several other artistic endeavours, including set design, costume and makeup design, and photography and video documentation.

Chopra’s ‘Sir Raja’ project is probably his best known work. In this piece, the artist blurs the boundaries between the performance space and the audience space, grappling with the challenge of being himself as the protagonist, while rendering himself as someone else. Chopra has also dabbled in creating art right before the audience, sketching landscapes using charcoal on paper or on the wall during his performances.  Chopra graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at M.S. University, Baroda, and went on to study at Maryland Institute, Baltimore, and Ohio State University. In 2007, Chopra was artist in residence at Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi.

More about the artist can be found here.



HTE Digital

‘Creative digital mass participation lab’

During October 2017, NAE and QUAD led on a digital lab in Bangalore to explore contexts, concepts and ideas that will result in the creation of a digital mass participation platform launching at the Bengaluru Fantastic festival scheduled 15-17 December 2017 and then the Birmingham H T E exhibition launching on 3 February and the Art Summit 22/23 March 2018, New Art Exchange and the Format Off Year International Photography Festival. Artists Brendan Oliver and Debbie Adele Cooper will work with specialist developers and curators from Jaaga, Srishti, NAE and QUAD in Bengaluru to determine a central idea allowing a third space of invention to be born, challenging perceptions and connecting communities from the UK and India exploring positive features to create a digital, future utopia.

Twitter and Instagram @Maputopia #MapUtopia

  1. What do you love about being in India?
  2. What do you love about being in UK?

Feel to leave your video responses to the above questions on Instagram and Twitter.


Draw With Gagan
Gagan Singh’s Quirky Contemplations

Imagine your idea visualised in a drawing by an artist….
Artist Gagan Singh has followed our journey Here in the UK, There in India, and the final iteration of this phase of the Here, There and Everywhere project. Positioned in the Everywhere – online – space, during the Birmingham Art Summit and the rest of March 2018, he invited collaborators to work with him in the creation of a series of personalised miniature drawings. Contributors sent Gagan a thought, provocation or idea, and received a drawing in return.

Visit the gallery of Gagan’s illustrations here >>



Current Artist Residencies

Ashok Vish
Residency dates – 25 August to 28 September

Children Playing God (2018), documentary film by Ashok Vish

Ashok Vish’s practice draws from his training as a filmmaker and interests in other aspects of image-making such as video and photography. His work has been an examination of the complexities of human identity, especially questioned identities against the larger context of our society. Following a research-based practice, other ideas of sexual identity, gender roles and social pressure are at the core of his interests. Vish places emphasis on exploring the associations between human emotions & adversity and their corresponding public and personal personas. This affords him the opportunity to investigate the relation between the imagery of fictional worlds and the conditions of reality, and sometimes merging both fiction and non-fiction with each other. His overriding objective for all of his projects has been to create narratives, whether linear or abstract, that, in turn, open up spaces for greater engagement between audience and imagery, between viewers and subjects, because doing so helps to bridge the seemingly wide chasms that separate “us” from “them”.

Vish’s films have screened in several film festivals such as the Chicago South Asian Film Festival, Chelsea Film Festival, New York Indian Film Festival, StarLite Film Festival, at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City and the Full On Film festival at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. Vish’s film ‘A Boy Called Boris’ was screened at 1Shanthiroad studio/gallery as part of a group exhibition titled ‘Much to say’, showcased along with paintings by visual artist Bhuvanesh Kumar. Apart from his films, Vish’s video art and photography have shown at galleries such as A.M (Art Multi- disciplines) Studio in Kolkata, Art Konsult in Delhi, Gallery Sumukha in Bangalore, Art Houz in Bangalore, MaximiliansForum in Munich. Vish was also selected for the 2018 ‘PEERS Share’ programme organized by Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi and participated in an artist residency at Lichtenberg Studios in Berlin, Germany on August 2018.

More about Ashok’s Project:

Not Just a Place That Sells Beer, It Sells Nectar
Although the UK has witnessed what can only be called a significant number of closures and destruction of queer spaces and nightlife venues over the past few years, in India, the opposite has been true. With changes in India’s legal system, the face of India’s social fabric has changed too: A newly tolerant culture on the cusp of social change has created an environment in which venues catering to the queer community have begun to spring up like never before. Drawing a parallel to this contrasting phenomenon around LGBTQ spaces in both countries is the foundational basis for my work.

By closely investigating sites of gay cruising such as bars, clubs and niche fetish venues in the UK, I aim to challenge the argument that the necessity for such spaces has decreased as a direct result of increased inclusivity in society by shining light on the importance of the specific sub-cultures and socio-cultural communities formed and fostered at such venues. The aim of my work is to remind everyone that a good queer bar/space accepts everyone, and celebrates all the things the world tells you are wrong. It is, in fact and above all else, the indescribable lure of cruising—the outlaw desires, transient encounters, and unbridled sexual activity—that drives the establishment of such spaces, and that keeps them in business, even in this digital age.

The work will initially take the form of a live-cinema performance—film clips accompanied by live dancing to disco and pop songs, and a read-through of fictionalized stories of people who frequent such venues and the culture they find there. Following further research, the work will culminate into an experimental film.