"Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Suddenly, they become the bleached bones of a story." - Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
In the face of something as massive as a global pandemic, how do we regain grounding? When much of the comfortable routines, places we once deemed safe, and grand plans we had tightly embraced have been drastically changed, even taken away—what do we now cling to? While the future may be hazy, nothing has felt more present and urgent than living through the day we have today, and trusting in the hope of tomorrow. Survival, it seems, must begin in these small, humble steps.
Created in the solitude of each artist's home or studio during a time of great uncertainty, the new pieces in this show seeks to find beauty in the little, intimate and fragile—but not any less powerful—phenomena in the controlled and contained spaces we live in; the quiet, fleeting fragments that now command our attention. As a colossal historical event sweeps the world at present, the tender, individual stories happening in the intimacy of our homes must not be erased. For, as Roy suggests, these small stories are what ultimately make up the skeletons, textures and patterns for the grander ones. This show is thus a reflection on that return to smallness—reflected not just through the literal small sizes of the pieces; but how they are metaphors for the objects, people, places and moments that we had once overlooked or deemed unworthy, now imbued and weighted with new meaning.
Simultaneously, the exhibit is a contemplation on a contemporary art world in the midst of a major shift—a world being called to move from the glitz and glamour of big, blockbuster exhibits to something more raw, modest and real. It is an invitation for artists to now reflect on our rapidly changing world: how do we create something valuable out of rubbles? How do we see hope in ordinary stories and tiny victories? And, perhaps most of all, how do we emerge from this without forgetting the small and neglected voices sidelined in our societies—seeing how all this time, they were filled with significance?
The show does not seek to answer these questions, but begin the conversation on what it means to be small, but not any less human.
Press release courtesy Gajah Gallery.