At Art Dubai 2023, Jhaveri Contemporary highlights six artists whose practices shift between industrial processes and the handmade, often mining local craft histories.
Lubna Chowdhary uses precise water jet technology to achieve the forms of her ceramic paintings, or Markers, before glazing them by hand in her studio. Chowdhary's Markers are experiments in aesthetic hybridity – they oscillate between a modernist purity of form and a desire for exuberant colour and ornamentation. They subvert, moreover, the graphic language of the symbols that we align ourselves to and shift between nationalist, religious, and commercial associations.
Shezad Dawood's textile-painting Nets 3 is materially and culturally specific to Fogo Island, where Dawood spent time on a residency with Fogo Islands Arts in 2021-22. Inspired by conversations with local craft practitioners, fishers, and other community members, the works in this series, in wool, crochet and embroidery, consider histories of economic and social processes, land-use, and our evolving relationship to the sea.
A new sculpture by Rana Begum, No.1223 Chain link, takes as its starting point the chain link fencing spread across the Coachella Valley, where Begum will introduce new work for Desert X 2023. Though made using galvanized powder-coated steel, it also echoes the fishing nets of the artist's childhood in Bangladesh and the landscape of St Ives, where she was artist-in-residence at Tate in 2018. It was here that Begum made her first Net work.
Sayan Chanda's woven textiles are rooted in the folk narratives and mythology of West Bengal. Nirrti references a forgotten Vedic deity cited in texts from 1500-1000BCE. Once considered a primal goddess, an embodiment of earth, rivers, and creation itself, over time she came to be associated with decay, disorder, misery, and chaos. 'Through this aniconic form, Nirrti reclaims her once-exalted status, cast as an icon of speculative myth through a magico-religious transformation of fibre and pigment.'
Permindar Kaur uses simple forms – for instance furniture (beds, cots, chairs) and toys (soft, brightly coloured figures, animals, trucks) – to explore the territory of cultural identity, home, and belonging. In her sculpture, the domestic can be a place of both comfort and threat. Two textile landscapes, Patchwork, reveal a curious fleece creature camouflaged amongst a collaged surface. 'Made of the same material, (it) is limply suspended...disappearing, too, into its world of household fabric. The creature is protected by copper claws, although – as does the chameleon – it chooses to hide out among the colours of its temporary habitat, keeping its spikes as a last-ditch defence when on the move.' (Gill Hedley)
Finally, Shiraz Bayjoo's Chi Lakaz (or little house in Mauritian creole) references religious altars or spiritual offerings. These sculptures present themselves as altars, partly referencing catholic churches, and are built of the same tropical hardwood used in places like Mauritius and Goa for museum interiors and churches. Employing simple geometric forms, Bayjoo's objects allow the weight of the material, and indeed the weight of history, to speak.