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Meet the first three artists at the newly opened Chemould/Shift art gallery | Pro Club Bd

The soft sculptures by Chandigarh-based artist Gurjeet Singh and the iron-and-shadow sculptures by Delhi-based artist Tarini Sethi are on display at Chemould Shift, a newly opened art space in Mumbai supporting pioneering young artists on the cusp of fame

The soft sculptures by Chandigarh-based artist Gurjeet Singh and the iron-and-shadow sculptures by Delhi-based artist Tarini Sethi are on display at Chemould Shift, a newly opened art space in Mumbai supporting pioneering young artists on the cusp of fame

In Mumbai’s Chemould/Shift, a gallery space that’s an extension of the 59-year-old contemporary art gallery Chemould Prescott Road, textile artist Gurjeet Singh crafts emotive soft sculptures from discarded pieces of printed fabric.

As a metaphor for rejecting the flawed, his choice of material manifests emotions triggered by childhood memories of bullying and harassment. Born and raised in Algon Kothi, a Punjab village nearly 50 kilometers from Amritsar, Gurjeet relates how he feels he is being pushed aside, just like the rejected pieces by the impeccably consistent bolts of cloth. “They called me girly. They teased me, force-kissed me, touched me, and molested me. I often went home and cried,” recalls the 27-year-old artist from Chandigarh.

Gurjeet, the youngest of his siblings (four sisters and one brother), considers himself lucky to have studied at the Government College of Art in Chandigarh. “In cities it feels like living in the 21st century, which is not the case in villages. They are centuries behind us in terms of human thinking. Art is an outlet for my experiences, especially the ones I had in school. It saved me from being buried under the weight of my emotions,” he says in Sugra Manzil, a centuries-old apartment building in Colaba that houses Chemould/SHIFT, founded by Atyaan Jungalwala and Sunaina Rajan in March.

A platform for young artists

“With this new gallery space we want to support up-and-coming young artists with the start of their careers. For our first group of resident artists, we wanted to have people working with different materials and mediums. We wanted them to share the same space and experiences,” says Sunaina. The gallery has decided to host a summer residency program each year, lasting eight to twelve weeks. “The artists are provided with housing and a studio space to work in,” she adds.

(l) Sunaina, (r) Atyaan

(l) Sunaina, (r) Atyaan

As one of the three artists invited for the gallery’s first three-month residency, Gurjeet says he has created about five soft sculptures since moving to Mumbai for the residency in May. “The story behind the sculptures is about a Punjabi boy I call Kirat. Kirat writes about queer people in Punjab. One of his stories is about a dream. It’s about how the smallest experiences leave a lasting impression on the subconscious. I recreate the characters’ expressions in the dream with rejected pieces of fabric Thanks (screws). I feel like the material is very similar to me,” he says. Gurjeet not only wants to question gender norms and perceptions, but also the notion of beauty and perfection. “Where I come from, black people are often told not to get married. I want to challenge the notion of beauty, not just gender perceptions, through my work,” he says.

A utopian space

A visible distance from Gurjeet, Delhi-based visual artist Tarini Sethi, 32, creates iron-and-shadow art installations in the gallery using acrylic, welded iron, and laser-cut metal. Art runs in her family. “My father is a product designer and my mother runs an NGO that is reviving the dying craft. I’ve always been eccentric and weird. Through art, I express imaginative spaces where everything is almost perfect,” she says. Most of her art revolves around the idea of ​​utopia. She draws inspiration from myths and folk tales. “A large part of my work is based on my dreams. I express the imbalance in human relationships and create installations in which sculptures cast shadows on the wall of a utopian space, a kind of alternative world,” she says. Commenting on the relationships between humans and nature, Tarini’s art reflects the idea of ​​a perfect world where love and kinship are central.

Tarini Sethi

Tarini Sethi

While Gurjeet and Tarni continue their residency at the gallery, Mumbai-UK based visual artist Rithika completed her residency a few weeks ago. Her art draws from the personal, the mythological, and the scientific to navigate the mystical spaces of human entanglements. By depicting themes around hybridity, displacement, future and femininity, her painted worlds become sacred spaces where events take place, where boundaries are crossed and transformations are imminent. These imaginary worlds propose interstellar realities studded with strong psychological tropes. Her work emphasizes the nature of companionship and recovery, opening up allegorical possibilities of a future beyond apocalypse as the ending point.

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