Pageants Of The Raj - The Workforce - A Debut Solo Exhibition by Devangana Kumar
A Debut Solo Exhibition by Devangana Kumar
Open to the public from 11- 25 August 2013
At Kalakriti Art Gallery, 468 road no. 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
Pageants of the Raj: the work force is self taught artist Devangana Kumar's debut solo exhibition. The exhibition is representative of Devangana's exploration of Indian visual culture over several years. It includes 30 art works that form a part of a conceptual project through which the artist seeks to interrupt the pervasive narrative of caste that was propagated by colonial ethnography, and which in the early 20th century, during the British Raj, was further disseminated through picture postcards of India sent around the world. Kumar experiments with scale, pigments, and production techniques to displace the complex ideologies imbedded in these stereotypical portraits of Indians, and separates the subjects from the deeply hierarchical setting into which they are, involuntarily, cast.
The results are striking; original photographs of anonymous 'people of the labour force' are rendered larger than life and almost surrealistic, then reproduced on silk velvet, and encased in rich, ornate borders. While alluding to the pageantry both of India's royalty and the British colonizers after them, Kumar's works in fact creates a feeling of unease, as they also point to the social inequity that continues in India today. Beneath the critique however, there is also a quieter tribute; an unexpectedly poignant portrait of name less (office peons, etc).