The organizers of India’s pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale, which opens in May, said today that they will present a group exhibition called “Our Time for a Future Caring” that focuses on the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and their uses in the world today. They have tapped seven artists for the show: Nandalal Bose, Atul Dodiya, GR Iranna, Rummana Hussain, Jitish Kallat, Shakuntala Kulkarni, and Ashim Purkayastha.
Curated by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi, the presentation will feature paintings, sculptures, photography, and mixed-media works. Among the pieces that will be on view are Bose’s Haripura Panels, which were originally commissioned by Gandhi for the Indian National Congress Party meeting in 1938, and Kallat’s video installation Covering Letter, which features a missive from Gandhi to Hitler. Neither work has been shown in Europe before. Contributions by Iranna, Hussain, and Kulkarni will examine themes such as nonviolence, truth, and tolerance.
The pavilion was organized by the India Ministry of Culture and the Confederation of Indian Industry, and works in “Our Time for a Future Caring” were commissioned by Shri Adwaita Chavan Gadanayak, the director general of the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.
Nirupama Kotru, the joint secretary of the ministry of culture, said in a statement, “Art is nothing but an expression of a nation’s culture. It is therefore befitting that in the year we celebrate 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi, we express his moral principles through art. The installations and art works at the India Pavilion in the Venice Biennale are an expression of the universal Gandhian values of truth, non-violence, compassion towards fellow beings and nature, self-reliance, simplicity and sustainability.”
Kiran Nadar, founder and chairperson of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, added, “These seven significant Indian modern and contemporary artists come from across India and their work reflects strikingly different responses to the figure and philosophies of Gandhi. The India Pavilion will present a discursive, timely exhibition, which explores Gandhi’s enduring presence and considers history, memory and identity.”