I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bangalore, studied in MS University. Currently practicing in Bangalore, Karnaraka. My work has developed in number of ways over the years yet from the very beginning of my art practice, I have workded in Painting, Printmaking, Installation, Video Art and Live/ Performance art. My intention is to blend these mediums into an interdisciplinary language.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Resilience: how this exhibition featuring 55 artists inspires, transforms, and heals

 https://yourstory.com/2022/06/art-exhibition-resilience-creativity/amp

By Madanmohan Rao

June 24, 2022

, Updated on:Jun 24, 2022, 3:57 PM GMT+5:30







Karnataka Chitakala Parishath recently host the exhibition Resilience, featuring the works of over 55 artists of Karnataka. See our coverage of the earlier exhibitions: Chitra Santhe, Moghi’s Tales, Team Yuva Collective, Aadipaaya, and Print India Biennale.

The exhibition was curated by Krishna Setty CS, former Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. “For the past two years, the pandemic adversely affected artists. But the artist community has shown resilience, and audiences are showing their support by attending exhibitions,” Krishna explains, in a chat with YourStory.

He is pleased with the feedback that the exhibition received. Some of the artworks were priced from Rs 15,000 to Rs 60 lakh.






“Art has a prominent role in society. It combines expression, exploration, and duty to society,” explains Dimple Shah, a Bengaluru-based multidisciplinary artist who has been practicing art for the last 22 years.

She has participated in a number of biennale exhibitions and won awards such as the International Commonwealth Arts and Craft Award. She has worked at art residencies in the UK, India, and Nigeria.

Dimple studied at MS University, Baroda. Her art practice spans painting, printmaking, installation, and performance art.







“The meaning and crucial function of art in contemporary times are to bring forth socio-political and psychological aspects of society,” she adds. Other themes are ecological, humanitarian, and socio-cultural concerns.


For the Resilience exhibition, she showcased her work titled A Song for the Future. “The image is a metaphor for today's situation, where one sees the dark future but still celebrates the moment,” Dimple says.


“It is a surrealistic approach of one traveling in a picturesque set-up of a garden with lush green trees. There is a young child carrying a bird on the head, with a mask connected to an inbuilt small echo system to survive,” she describes


“It is the usual tendency of humans to try to find happiness in any adverse situation. In the process, we forgot to correct our mistakes and habituate to any given living conditions. The painting criticizes this attitude and aspect of society,” she adds.

The transforming experience of art helps attain catharsis and heal both artist and community. “Success for an artist comes from the
exploration of the true path, reaching people, and transforming their lives,” Dimple signs off.





Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Jennie Klien on Dimple B Shah







































Rites of Passage

During the seventies, feminist artists turned to performance art in order to make ritualistic pieces that invoked a non-patriarchal religious spirituality. At the time, invoking a mother goddess to counteract 50,000 years of patriarchal rule seemed like a radical act. Just ten years later, invoking the mother goddess and using ritual was no longer viewed as being so radical. In fact, western feminist scholars and critics, many of whom were being appointed to positions within the academy, were somewhat embarrassed by cultural feminist art, which they saw as essentially flipping the patriarchal binary hierarchy of male/culture/language vs. women/nature/the body without questioning what it meant to embrace that binary, and why it was embraced in the first place. What had previously been radical was seen as hopelessly naive, simplistic, and guilty of cultural appropriation. Thus the critic Craig Owens, in his much cited two part article “The Discourse of Others,” published in The Anti-Aesthetic (edited by Hal Foster) in 1983, did not mention any artists who were working with images of the goddess, even though artist such as Marybeth Edelson and Betsy Damon were working in New York City, where Owens was based.

The western suspicion of feminist spirituality was not a global phenomenon. Significantly, feminist performance artists who were not educated or enculturated in the global north continued to make work informed by ritual and cultural tradition. Contemporary artists as diverse as Alejandra Herrera de Silva, Graciela Ovejero Postigo, Amanda Heng, AOR NOpowan, Monali Meher, Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, and Dimple B Shah have used ritual and spirituality in their work, with powerful results. Shah’s performances reference the everyday rituals that are all around her in Bangalore, India, without specifically engaging with one religion. In her own work, deliberate ritualistic actions are performed against a colorful and music-filled background. Shah’s work, as seen in her recent performance for Flow, harnesses the ancient idea of the feminine in order to speak to the importance of women’s rights today.

The description for this workshop promised the following to the participants:

This workshop will guide us in a process of reconnection to connect us to a deeper consciousness. I will draw on various techniques and methods that will help us to join random points of connection. These processes are developed from research on into performative rituals from my culture. I have been incorporating these elements and, it has helped me seek my answers. It is the process one can follow to start with, to form their style and language. These processes are a foundation for future understanding of self with Nature and our surroundings. This workshop seeks to be a journey to activate inner consciousness aligning to the macrocosmic and microcosmic world.

In addition to this, participants who had signed up received the following list prior to the first day:

Materials required –
Big Bowl, Water, Soil/ Earth
Steel container Oil olive, salt, Match box, Tissue wipes /or small cloth towel Flowers available in your area colours of you choices 3 Variety
Making of Sweet -Almond, milk, honey, Rice, soil/earth,

Scented Candle/ or plain – small one or
Incense sticks flower essence,
Cardamom 5 or 7 numbers
Clove 10 number
Cinnamon- two stick


These materials, which can be seen in Shah’s performances (http://dimplebshah.blogspot.com/) and in many of the Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain religious ceremonies that surrounded Shah as she grew up, constituted the rituals that the participants would reference. However, this workshop was not about appropriating Indian spirituality and meditational techniques on the way to becoming physically fit, which is the case with most yoga practices in the west. Rather, it was about providing participants with a toolbox that they could use in order to make their own rituals without appropriating so-called exotic or foreign cultures. Shah was careful to distinguish between ritualistic worship of deities that are specific to Indian religions and ritualistic actions that are specific to the person who is embodying those actions. She asked the participants to do the same.

The workshop took place over two Thursdays and two Fridays, separated by a week. On the first day, the participants introduced themselves and Shah gave a presentation that included documentation of everyday rituals in Indian culture along with a discussion of several performances that she had done. The session ended with the participants plunging their hands into bowls of water, and then pushing their feet into a containers of soil or dirt. Participants were encouraged to combine the soil and water to make a Goddess shape.



On Day 2, the participants were tasked with two things. First, to try and count grains of rice up to 500. The action was surprisingly soothing, and took a long time. 500 grains of rice can fit easily on a small plate, and yet no one finished counting in less than 15 minutes. The second action was to take the goddess figure that had been made the day prior and decorate her with flowers that were either found or purchased. The flower arrangements that were reminiscent of modernist abstract art, artfully arranged and bordering on the abstract. Each participant gave a different narrative for why the flowers were chosen; several combined their flowers with the rice.


Day 3, required some improvisation as an email that was supposed to go out to the participants did not reach them. Shah had planned to lead the group in making an offering of rice, enhanced with cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves and sweetened with sugar and milk, for the earth goddess figure from the previous week. Upon realizing that the participants were not prepared, Shah pivoted and led an exploration of the Chakras, or 7 energy centers along the spine. Shah took her time explaining the mudras/hand gestures, location/meaning, and chants of the Chakras. The workshop concluded with a demonstration for how to make the sweet offering to the goddess, which the participants did on their own following the conclusion of the workshop.


Day 4 was devoted to rituals performed by the participants. But first, an unexpected challenge had to be overcome: a power outage on Shah’s end, which knocked everyone out of the zoom meeting. Fortunately one of the participants was able to create an alternate zoom meeting that allowed the workshop to continue. The final meeting gave space to the ritualistic and spiritual performances devised by the workshop participants. One participant performed a dancing ritual in their living space that referenced their childhood in Mexico. A second participant, based in Ireland, went outside and took off her clothing before brushing her long hair. A third, who was not able to be present, did a performance around the similarity between food made for offerings in Honduras and Bangalore. I did a ritual with a goddess that I had made with an aloe plant, which I swathed in cloth, decorated with flowers, and offered a portion of the treat I had made just that morning. My goddess was tongue-in-cheek, but also serious. The ritual was local–the day prior I had walked around my Ohio neighborhood to collect wildflowers to include on the altar.


In spite of power outages, internet issues, and time differences, the workshop was a sensory experience that pushed the participants outside of their comfort zones.

Dimple Shah@Art TV




Dimple Shah is a brilliant Performance artist, Painter, Print-maker, Photographer, and Theatrist. She has vast body of work, thought process, and skills to present a great set of multi-disciplinary art. Let's listen to her views and observations. Please like, comment, share, and subscribe to this channel. Please find the link below to click and view our channel.
 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Performances Rendering ‘Collective Existence’

by Alka Chadha Harpalani























The three art performances of Inder Salim, Dimple B. Shah, and Mukesh K. Zile Singh at the recently concluded Jaipur Art Summit enacted to propel greater awareness and concern for environmental degradation also mirrors the individual visions of each artist. The performances were curated by Dimple B. Shah for the Summit, which was held in association with the Vrindavan Research Institute, Braj Sanskriti Sanskaran: Yug yugeen Shri Krishna – Vyapti aur sandharbh from 7 to 11 December 2021 in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh. The event included many activities like painting workshops, musical performances, folk dance, book releases, saanjhi kala, and so on.

Each of the simple, yet profound acts imbued with deep meanings are a quintessence of performance art. Unplanned and random materials, selectively picked from their personal box of experiences and observations, while personifying the artist’s intention, have aided the expressions. The acts reveal the ugly truth of deforestation with towering concrete buildings, climate change, pollution hazards and above all the insensitivity of people towards ecological concerns. The acts speak eloquently when one gets involved in the visual dialogue.

Engulfed in a black robe, Inder Salim explores the play of the subconscious mind through his performance Between Doors and Pores. The act includes interaction with the audience – a question-answer session on art and philosophy. Sitting and intermingling with the audience becomes a part of the performance itself. He describes his concept with reference to The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Casteneda:






















“The Art of Dreaming describes the steps needed to master the control and consciousness of dreams. The Toltecs of Don Juan Matus' lineage believed that there are seven barriers to awareness, which they termed `The Seven Gates of Dreaming' or obstacles to awareness. In The Art of Dreaming Castaneda describes extensively how a state called ‘Total Awareness’ can be achieved by means of dreaming by overcoming these obstacles. Four of the ‘Gates’ are discussed in The Art of Dreaming. What follows is not so much a technique in achieving lucidity, but rather the practical application of lucid dreaming. By acting in a certain way while dreaming, one can cause psychosomatic changes in one's being, including an alternate way of dying. What follows is a point-form summary of the philosophy surrounding Toltec dreaming as a way of ‘sorcery that is a return to Paradise’."



































Dimple B. Shah’s performance, From Existentialism to Extinction – Air, Water, Land and Living Being embraces numerous layers in her act. While performing the rituals we see her with an empty lotus pond loaded with clay compost, shielded with grill and haunting polyphonic mourning sounds, and clutching a monkey sculpture. Progressively coming out and entering the second cage with rabbits; standing silently, constructing a connection with plants and animals; she then lets rabbits quietly play on her robe. All this is followed by the artist sitting on the mound of dried leaves spread over the ground. It gives goose bumps to the viewers, as they and the students sprinkle mehandi over her, symbolically signifying natural healing therapy using the organic material.






















The above two photos are courtesy of the artist Dimple B. Shah and the photographer Umashankar Purohit

“The land of Temple and land of Holy Basil Vrindhavan is the ancient Sanskrit name of the city, Vṛndāvana, which comes from its groves of vṛndā (Holy basil) and vana (a grove or forest) is also not far from clutches of Environmental crises and destruction of old trees affecting living animals and birds like peacock, birds and lot of animals like monkeys. Modern development and illegal construction of human settlements and occupation of the land has led to the disappearance of the Yamuna belt and several historical sites. The unauthorized construction of buildings and covering of river beds and expansion of human settlements have drastically affected the ecosystem of this small place and life. Both the city's environment and cultural heritage are severely affected by environmental pollution. We are still to come out of the pandemic and comprehend and deal with the crises. Water, air and land are all getting polluted. A recent picture of the Yamuna River contaminated with froth and foam went viral. This keeps repeating every year when the factories surrounding the Yamuna belt dispose of untreated contaminated chemical water to the river. Unless there is strict action taken by the government to regulate the disposing of chemicals into the river, or any other river in the country, this will keep repeating. The air quality is deteriorating in every city to the extent that it has become poisonous to breathe in and is detrimentally impacting the living conditions of all living beings. As an artist, we respond to the call of nature during this critical period through our work. Artists engage with and subtly respond to the community and space through narratives and metaphoric or poetic actions,” says Dimple.






Mukesh K. Zile Singh’s performance titled Roots, Trees, and Human is a thoughtful, psychological insight into the environmental issues, veiled in simplification, with the use of intriguing props that charge up the space. He is seen with his face concealed with silver foil and a tape, gripping a burnt log and dragging it across the ground, then losing his grip to cause the log to drop at a point, and then yet carrying on with the considerable effort. Restless drawings of the circles with coal, leaving a black mark on the track, the lingering reverberating sounds of deep breaths and panting due to choking – they all point to the close connection between humans and nature. Through his act he highlights the disconnection between the two, and human apathy to the bitter consequences of deforestation because of the use of products that are not eco-friendly, thus creating a horrifying world for themselves to live in.


“It is no wonder that trees have captured the human imagination since the beginning of time. Their strength, deeply rooted in the Earth, is an inspiration. Their trunk and branches are a wonder of nature because they stand sturdy and impenetrable most of the time, yet they can flex and sway with the wind when needed. Since the beginning of time, humans have had a sense that trees are sentient beings just like us, that they can feel pain that they bleed when they are hurt. We can feel a tree’s vibrational energy when placing our hand upon its bark. With their deep roots, trees carry significant energy from the ground. We naturally feel peace and serenity when walking in the shade of trees. Trees are considered sacred in many cultures and trees are worshiped universally by ancient peoples in every corner of the globe. As an artist, our role is to document and critically look at the socio-cultural consequences of environmental changes and find different ways to communicate this to the audience,” says Mukesh describing his act






















The three performances echo the artists’ responses and contemplation to happenings all around and their helplessness towards the environmental changes taking place. Their distinctive acts are dialogues involving the audience and bridge the gap between the artist and the viewer – they may be separate actualities but yet appear amalgamated. There is directness and simplicity in expression and the spatial thoughtfulness, openness and the visual spells they cast can be readily identified with and understood, thus creating a bond between the performer and the audience. Taken together they force the onlookers to delve deep into each performance and urges us towards a collective existence.

(All images are courtesy of the respective artists unless mentioned otherwise)


Dr Alka Chadha Harpalani is an artist, researcher, writer, poet, and has worked as a professor. She is involved in an e-learning project by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource and Development) at Dayalbagh University, Agra. Editor of the journal Artistic Narration (Anu Books) for over 10 years and recipient of many prestigious awards and honours, she has held and participated in many all India and international exhibitions, and published research papers and articles in renowned art journals, newspapers and magazines.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Salon Launches a Q&I Between Dimple B Shah and Nicolás


Image: Courtesy of Dimple B Shah
Excerpt from Q&I below /
To read the full piece go to: https://www.interiorbeautysalon.com/dimple-b-shah















Nicolás: I am extremely interested in the concept of The Mother. I have worked with my mother on several occasions. In 2007, she sent me off to Germany where I invited the Holy Infant of Prague to take over me for several days and, so I renounced my personality for that time. My mother made the vestment of the Holy Infant. Linda Mary Montano also worked with her mother way back, and I see that you work with your mother as well. Any insights?
 
Dimple B Shah: I am very close to my mother. My relationship has deepened as I am living with her for the past 12 years due to her illness. The emotional bond has become even stronger. I share my thoughts with her, my creative ideas, and my emotional traumas. My mother has also evolved from a homemaker, to slowly become an artist. For the past five years or more, she has started to draw and paint and I encouraged her to do so to divert her from negative thinking and, since then she has shown tremendous interest and now is slowly becoming an artist. I have shared my first thought and idea of performances with her for the last two years. Mother has collaborated with me in my performances. The bond between mother and daughter is strong, unconditional and, the backbone of our strength. Words are not enough to explain our relationship.

https://www.interiorbeautysalon.com/dimple-b-shah?fbclid=IwAR32E73HLYCoSZ1SXsEKyXiyTcKGdPXtYBd02d0NnO0yPYxIUW9YeWt2YVQ

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Dimple Shah: Multidisciplinary Artist and Performance Art Exponent

 


Mapping Sacred Spaces, Live-action 11, Gothenburg, Sweden


Photo by Christian Berven

For more images please follow the above link  



Dimple Shah is a multidisciplinary artist; her work builds strong political and social knowledge in a physical and poetic visual language. Her work represents the intrinsic study of philosophy, psychology, shamanism, and eco-feminism with key socio-political concerns related to war-related humanitarian issues like migration, crimes against women, etc.





Catharsis, purification, healing, distillation, and extraction of the pure from the self are essential elements in her works with various approaches that are ephemeral, spontaneous, and interactive to help in the healing process. Seen in this light, her work with the distillation process can in a metaphorical sense be applied to the thematic concerns addressed in her art.




1. When did you decide and what prompted you to become an artist? Please give a brief account of your challenges and struggles in your journey as an artist. Any role models?


DS: My fascination with conventional theatre sparked my curiosity in art and visual performance art. During my undergraduate years in 1995, I was part of some play productions and worked with B. Jayshree and for an independent theatre group called Ranga Shankara Troop, where I met Arundhati Nag. This experience of seven years allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of backstage and onstage activities and learn about the history of theatre in India and around the globe. I participated in plays such as 'Tippu Sultan’, ‘Surya Shikari’, and ‘Jasma Uddan’, to name a few, and developed a strong desire to learn more about traditional theatre. At that time, I was considering a career in theatre.

Following my graduation in commerce from NMKRV College for Women's in Bangalore, I realized that I had an inclination towards the arts and various art forms. I followed a completely different path in the visual arts, enrolling in a five-year course and graduated with a Diploma in Painting from the Ken School of Art in 1998. I then pursued my deep interest in graphics (printmaking), working for a year in the Graphic Studio at Karnataka Lalit Kala Akademi to nurture my printmaking skills and worked hard to develop a good body of work so that I could to gain admission and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Printmaking in Baroda in 2001.

My desire to learn more led me to apply for numerous scholarships. Fortunately, I received the Commonwealth Arts and Craft Award 2005 and spent nine months at Glasgow Print Studio. During the early years of my graduation, I got inspired by German existentialist artists like Anslem Kiefer, Joseph Beuys, Rebecca Horn, Jenny Holzer, and the early dada artists like Man Ray who followed surrealist approaches. I could instantly connect to the philosophical and existential quest in my mind, which became a foundation for my journey. During my masters, I explored not just printmaking but extended my explorations in visual performance art. Initially, I experimented with photographic performance. In 2001 I presented my first official performance at the faculty auditorium in front of a large audience that was also part of the final year art display – an open day for the public. From then onward I’ve never looked back, and now after 20 plus years, I continue on my journey with 70 plus performances performed till now in dozens of cities across three continents.

It took a lot of effort to convince people about performance art which was not that popular in the Indian contemporary space. To perform in public spaces involved a lot of effort, from investing money to taking permissions and organizing everything and finally performing. There is lack of understanding and people always believed and still do that performance art is free. This is not true. A tremendous amount of time, energy, labour and investment goes into it like any other art form.

I have constantly worked to change this thinking and have been able to bring about some change over the years (20 years of effort and research and experience is not just like that). I’ve been internationally recognized for my work and have made my mark to get commissioned for my performance works.


2. What art projects are you working on currently? What is your inspiration or motivation for this?

DS: There are a couple of projects I am documenting on a Research Fellowship on Changing Trends in Printmaking as a printmaker. In the last decade there has been a paradigm shift in the printmaking art scene in India with individual printmakers increasingly shifting their dependence from the public studio to establishing their own private studio, not only in major cities but also in smaller ones like Nainital and Nagpur. Another ongoing research project is related to alchemy, shamanism and ecology, which I’ve been working on for the last fifteen years and which enhances my art practice. Presently, I’m preparing for a performance project titled 'Research-Creation in Urgent Times’ for Spar2c, who have invited artists whose works are predominantly research-based.

Apart from these, I am working on creating prints and paintings – I am planning a solo show after many years. There are also curatorial projects lined up: the ‘Lock Unlock’ and ‘Transitstation’ performance art projects are both research-based laboratories where we as a team explore online performance possibilities.

3. Contemporary art has become very diverse and multidisciplinary in the last few decades. Do you welcome this trend? Is this trend part of your art practice?

DS: I describe my artistic practice as multidisciplinary as my art practice has evolved in various mediums such as performance, printmaking, and other media. While I draw a line for my expression, I work according to the need of my concept. In recent years, my focus has been on merging these artistic mediums in an interdisciplinary language. In particular, performance and live art as a means of expression contain for me the elements of time and space of my subconscious impulses with the same time frame; it has the dual purpose of engaging the body as a means of communication and the audience to respond directly and immediately. All my performance works deal with social issues through visual expression, which, in addition to the video installations, serves as a comprehensive study. The video projection and mundane objects used for the performance reinforce the power of my argument. In the last two decades, I have developed my own language of expression by merging and working independently in these mediums, especially in live performance art and by involving myself in community-based public projects and to build a community of performance artists. I have done more than seventy plus live art performances in different countries and cities around the globe on various socio-political and ecological concerns, historical relevance of cities and women's issues.

Printmaking is the other apt medium to develop the complexity that is underlying in the subject that I address in my work. The construction of the work, by placing layers next to each other or superimposing layers, can be mapped into the complex structure of the socio-human problems that my work addresses.

4. Does art have a social purpose or is it more about self-expression?

DS: In recent years, my artistic work has focused on identifying the "me", both at the macro and micro levels. As an individual who is part of a social structure, my work expresses the self that needs to navigate the effects of the socio-political turmoil and related human problems juxtaposed with the personal plane to cope with the emotional responses of alienation, insecurity and fear as a by-product of our "postmodern" era. The duality of exploration is reflected both in the concepts underlying my impressions and in the work on the stage.

Over two decades, my artistic practice has gradually evolved with core humanitarian issues in relation to equality and justice to emotional responses arising from socio-political, religious, and community issues, such as ethnic riots, conflicts, women's safety, oppression and environmental concerns. At times, I explore growing and developing cities like Bangalore which have a rich historical background and relevance. My journey as an artist grew out of my philosophical and existential questioning and perspective of the self and has now became more complex as I exposed myself to the reality of the prevailing social structure, such as the experience of the 2002 Godhra communal riots in Gujarat where men, women, and children brutally killed, women tortured and bodies burned. It drastically affected my thought process and as an emotional reaction, I performed ‘Saffron Border’ in 2003 at the Kanoria Art Centre and the Bangalore Kala Mela Festival. From here there was a transition to go inward and to introspect on my roots when I went to the Glasgow print studio residency for nine months. During my experience in Glasgow I felt a hollowness, a void, and I turned toward my roots where I explored both western and Indian alchemy to look for answers for healing and catharsis and visual representation of imagery from early texts on alchemy. The residency was fruitful to evolve my perspective and bring in the elements of cure (healing) and use of natural healing materials, such as milk, salt, turmeric, ash, etc., in my later works which are ongoing.. The residency led to a solo show, ‘Katharsis in Forbidden Zones’, which was about the aspect of nine metals affecting social and other related faculties of philosophy and psychology and in what way one can achieve 'catharsis' and purging and also get healed. The show was a set of installations and paintings and a video of the performance. I worked with various alchemical elements and essentials as a base to analyse different stages of purification.

The purpose of art is a double-edged, artistic expression of observing and looking at society both from internal and external perspectives with a bird's eye view and an open mind, inclusive of humanistic values and critical socio-political and ecological issues. To bring in concerns of extinction of human beings and other living beings and ecological concerns during the pandemic I worked with shamanism for my performance, ‘Prayer of Shaman’, for Out of Site Chicago, ‘Prayer for Co-existence for Laboratory for Art Soul’ in Germany, and ‘Survival and Coexistence for Bio Networks’ organized by the Dhaka Live Art Biennale.

5. Where do you create your art (workplace/studio)? What is your process?

DS: In recent years, my artistic work has focused on identifying the "me", both at the macro and micro levels. As an individual who is part of a social structure, my work expresses the self that needs to navigate the effects of the socio-political turmoil and related human problems juxtaposed with the personal plane to cope with the emotional responses of alienation, insecurity and fear as a by-product of our "postmodern" era. The duality of exploration is reflected both in the concepts underlying my impressions and in the work on the stage.

Over two decades, my artistic practice has gradually evolved with core humanitarian issues in relation to equality and justice and emotional responses arising from socio-political, religious, and community issues, such as ethnic riots, conflicts, women's safety, oppression, and environmental concerns. At times, I explore growing and developing cities like Bangalore which have a rich historical background and relevance. My journey as an artist grew out of my philosophical and existential questions and perspective of the self and has now became more complex as I exposed myself to the reality of the prevailing social structure, such as the experience of the 2002 Godhra communal riots in Gujarat where men, women, and children brutally killed, women tortured and bodies burned. It drastically affected my thought process and as an emotional reaction, I performed ‘Saffron Border’ in 2003 at the Kanoria Art Centre and the Bangalore Kala Mela Festival. From here there was a transition to go inward and to introspect on my roots when I went to the Glasgow print studio residency for nine months. During my experience in Glasgow, I felt a hollowness, a void, and I turned toward my roots where I explored both western and Indian alchemy to look for answers for healing and catharsis and visual representation of imagery from early texts on alchemy. The residency was fruitful to evolve my perspective and bring in the elements of cure (healing) and use of natural healing materials, such as milk, salt, turmeric, ash, etc., in my later works which are ongoing.. The residency led to a solo show, ‘Katharsis in Forbidden Zones’, which was about the aspect of nine metals affecting social and other related faculties of philosophy and psychology and in what way one can achieve 'catharsis' and purging and also get healed. The show was a set of installations and paintings and a video of the performance. I worked with various alchemical elements and essentials as a base to analyze different stages of purification.

The purpose of art is a double-edged, artistic expression of observing and looking at society both from internal and external perspectives with a bird's eye view and an open mind, inclusive of humanistic values and critical socio-political and ecological issues. To bring in concerns of extinction of human beings and other living beings and ecological concerns during the pandemic I worked with shamanism for my performance, ‘Prayer of Shaman’, for out-of-site Chicago and also ‘Prayer for Co-existence for Laboratory for Art Soul’ in Germany, and ‘Survival and Coexistence for Bio Networks’ organized by the Dhaka Live Art Biennale.

The process of creation starts in my mind months before I sit in front of the canvas. I make rough sketches that change often. Once I’ve decided on a composition, it starts working in my mind . . . the size, colours, materials, and so on. The picture I create in my mind may not appear the same on canvas, so it undergoes changes at different levels. My works with rag impressions on canvas took about four years of hard work. I discarded more than a dozen canvases during my experiment. I need a very large space as I cannot move the un-stretched canvas for about a month on which I create the impression with a gunny rag. Once I separate gunny from the canvas, I again allow the impression to dry completely. I work with paint and a thin brush to get the desired shades and paint on it the required object. I’ve moved on from just natural gunny colour to coloured gunny rag. I’ve also introduced print to support my idea and acrylic along with oil paint. One thing has led to another and finally, I've started pasting a few gunny threads also on canvas.

6. To what extent will the world of art change in the post-Covid period – both in terms of what is created as also the business of art?

DS: There has been considerable change in the online platform during the pandemic; it opened up various avenues while physical galleries closed down. During the pandemic, artists looked for possibilities to survive. Artists working with paintings chose the many online platforms made available to showcase their works. While the probability to sell works was slim in 2020, nevertheless, in 2021 many artists started exploring the NFT platform. I too got a few introductions but never explored the possibilities. As a performance artist, it did open up several doors, one has to have an open mind to experiment with online opportunities and work with video performances. Several platforms came up, to name a couple, 'The Lock Unlock Performance Art Project' and 'Transitstation', which I am part of as a core member. We invited several international artists to perform on these platforms and, we have launched 20 successful episodes ‘Of Lock Unlock’ till now. I have also been honoured to participate and get commissioned for projects with international organizations to present my work (live-streamed and recorded video performance). Around the globe, live performance artists are looking out for various modules to work out possibilities. The post-pandemic artist network has broadened. It has given vast scope to work out different experiments in various laboratories. We also got more time to reflect on our thought process for future shows and examine possibilities in terms of art business like NFT. I would optimistically assume that post-pandemic both online and physical exhibitions will explode with shows. I hope the market will be good and will broaden on both platforms and open doors for marketing with rise in demand depending on the market conditions and the economy as a whole.


7. Tell us about any other interest you may have besides your art practice. Does it get reflected
in your art?

DS: I am interested in gardening, cooking; I feel life and art go hand in hand. I believe and stress on Art-Life as one mantra. I have used both of my interests as part of my art project growing organic millets, wheatgrass, green gram for my art projects, to mention a few. I have performed several versions of this performance piece in different events. I grew millet for the first time that I performed in 2014 for Live Art Lab at Bangalore Santé (Vivekananda Metro station). It was a durational work since I prepared sowing seeds three weeks prior to the actual performance and also designed my own costume to carry those plants. Later, I also planted the seeds in the gardens of Bangalore Santé and the saplings were given away to the audience.

I performed this again in 2017 at Goethe Institute, where I sowed wheatgrass seeds for four weeks and later installed and distributed the saplings to audience members. In 2017 I collaborated with students of the State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rothak, and did a performance, along with 10-12 students, titled A Small Piece of Earth in My Pocket – Warriors of Nature. An Iranian filmmaker, Maryna Grytsai, made a film on this project titled A Piece of Earth in My Pocket.

Cooking also became part of one of the performance works for ‘The Longest Day Performance Festival’ in Zurich, Switzerland – I engaged in day-long labour for this act by making fafda, representing working women in major cities who make poppadum and chapatti for their everyday living. This performance was a metaphor for the everyday work of women which is not considered as work. In this work, I brought an imaginary fantasy of Switzerland by implanting an impression of the landscape through the vegetable colour print on fafda and also the holy cow which connects both India and Switzerland.

(All images and videos are courtesy of the artist, Dimple Shah unless mentioned otherwise)


The artamour questionnaire is a regular series of interviews with visual artists across disciplines, who share their views about art, their practice, and their worldview on a common questionnaire template. Like, comment, share, and subscribe to stay updated.









hostgator coupon