COVENTRY.- Through Other Eyes presents a selection of drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and films by emerging artists from India and Pakistan.
The works were selected by Gérard Mermoz during a three-month visit to art schools, artist studios, artist-led galleries and group exhibitions, in preference to selecting pieces already sifted by commercial galleries.
The exhibition shows artists redefining their place in the world, and making propositions about the present, and by implication, their future.
The works share a common concern with human issues which they present in a variety of styles, often through the mediation of allegory.
They have been made at a crucial stage in the cultural life of India and Pakistan when artists have to negotiate the cultural legacies of their respective national and regional traditions against the background of globalisation, the hold of Western art history on art courses, the lures of the art market, and the seduction of transnational identities promoted by global forms of material and cultural consumption.
The exhibition includes new works by folk and tribal artists, presented alongside pieces by artists who have been trained at art schools, in a deliberate move to challenge aesthetic hierarchies and to redefine the contemporary in multi-cultural terms as the simultaneous validity of co-existing cultures.
Of the artists in the exhibition, 45 of them studied in art colleges in places including Baroda, Santiniketan, Kolkata, Lahore, Bangalore, Mysore, Mumbai, Dehli, Thiruvananthapuram and Kairagarth.
The 18 other artists have served an apprenticeship with a master, often a family member such as a mother or father in the case of Madhubani, West Bengal and Gond painters.
The exhibition takes the form of a collective polylogue - a discourse of many voices - in which the works stand in their own terms, free from predefined hierarchies and aesthetic agendas imported from the West.
Each work manifests both a point of view and an existential position, which it portrays through a medium of drawing, painting, print-making, film, video, and performance - inviting us to respond to the visual propositions of the works, and engage with the worlds opened up in the spirit of philosopher Paul Ricoeur.