Erasing Borders: Indian Artists in the American Diaspora

Each generation inherits and reinterprets their ethnic, socio-economic and cultural traditions. Telling their stories through their talents, and reinterpreting folklore a collection of artists hailing from India and living in the United States explores past traditions in their work as a point of departure as they embrace and reinterpret an India that is more modern than ever.

Although, in search of common origins and a reinterpretation of an Indian vision living in the west, the exhibition Erasing Borders brings together a broad and at times disconnected group of artists. Some of the artists pursue abstraction but get hung up on the spiritual sentimental aspects of the sublime by co-opting painterly language which seems forced. Those issues aside there are a few quirky and quietly astonishing visual moments to be found. For instance Anna Bhushan's episodic water colors tap into the tradition of Indian Miniature painting and mythology while also personal, open and accessible to the broader global culture. Her work is reminiscent of Amy Sillman's playful narrative semi-abstractions but Bhushan's work is more deliberate in its mythological roots and illustrative sensibility. This same sense of delight in folkloric images appears in Vijay Kumar's black and white etching of an extended arm and finger holding a small horse. The image is reminiscent of Ben Shan or Jose Bedia's prophetic drawings. Siona Benjamin's playful work "Finding Home #30" merges western pop cultural fragments with Indian symbols, the effect feels awkward and forced, and there is a humor to them which relies on tired clichés. Two photographs by Yamini Nayar stand out in this small exhibition. The simple composition, and wonderful color contrasts are worth seeing more of. This last point reveals the short coming of the curatorial decisions in this exhibition. While some as I've mentioned stand out the over all exhibition would have gone further if there were more examples of these stronger artists and an omission of some others.

By Andrew Cornell Robinson
Written for the Gay City News

Anna Bhushan's "The Mother of Difficulties, the Perception of Difficulties"
2006 Watercolor

And additional works below

Exhibition Information

Erasing Borders: Indian Artists in the American Diaspora
February 4 - March 4, 2007
Queens Museum of Art
Flushing Meadow Park Flushing, NY 11368, US