Mycelial Legacies: Survey exhibition of women artists from the faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara

29 January - 12 February 2023

Curated by Deeksha Nath

 

 

Anita Dube, Archana Hande, Archana Shastri, Avantika Bawa, Ayisha Abraham, Gargi Raina, Hema Upadhyay, Hemali Bhuta, Ira Chaudhuri, Jyotsna Bhatt, Katyayini Gargi, Kavita Shah, Kishori Kaul, Latika Katt, Lavanya Mani, Madhurima Patni, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Nasreen Mohamedi, Nibha Sikander, Nilima Sheikh, Puja Mondal, Rakhi Peswani, Ratnabali Kant, Rekha Rodwittiya, Rini Dhumal, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Shefalee Jain, Soghra Khurasani, Sukanya Ghosh, Sumakshi Singh

 

Mycelial Legacies brings together paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and videos by 30 artists with past and present affiliations to the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara – an institution that has been one of the wellsprings of contemporary Indian art practice. In doing so, the exhibition seeks to codify the contribution of women artists to the development of the Faculty and to the shaping of its broader influences, and to widen an institutional legacy that has traditionally been signposted in terms of the contributions of its male stalwarts.

 

What is the nature of this legacy? It is networked, intergenerational, nourishing and insurgent. The alumni network of the Faculty is widespread, described by Nilima Sheikh in the volume Contemporary Art in Baroda as a ‘pioneer impulse’ of its graduates which kept the institution ‘liberal’ and ‘cosmopolitan’. The Baroda School, a term loosely coined, has been identified by art making levered to a deep knowledge of art history, guided by an understanding that rigorous practice and a conceptual framework rooted in the visible and the everyday, represented from the vantage of a ‘radical subject position’, as defined by Shivaji Panikkar, are the hallmarks of its artistic pluralism.

 

At a time when as a society, we are on the one hand beginning to revel in the freedom of non-binary identifications and on the other witnessing sites inhabited by women as those of critical resistance—Shaheen Bagh, Iran, Afghanistan—this exhibition considers over six decades of innovative and interconnected artistic production by women artists. Neither thematically nor chronologically presented, the works highlight key characteristics of the Baroda School – the primacy of subjective perception, material experimentation, interdisciplinary practice, enthusiasm for the living arts and an emphasised relationship between body and space.

 

The exhibition hosts a video programme curated by Najrin Islam, on behalf of Video Art by South Asian Contemporary Artists, a developing archive of contemporary South Asian video art.