A two site-specific art installation exhibition by Chemat Dorjey with Abeer Gupta titled ‘Old Routes, New Journey II’ is being held from October 31 to December 7, 2017 at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) Bhopal. The exhibition is being conducted by India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) in collaboration IGRMS. Chemat Dorjay, mastered in Fine Arts from Banaras Hindu University, is a contemporary artist from Ladakh who responds to stories through two installations which becomes a conversation between art and material culture. Trained as a sculptor, he has been exploring local materials and techniques in his work. He has also worked with stone carving in Turtuk in the Nubra Valley and with the potters in Likir. He has also been exploring the form and idea of the spindle, which was a recurrent motif in his first solo show at the Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi in 2017. “I have always wanted to look at my own land’s history and culture. Ladakh has inspired me in so many ways, the surreal colour of the landscape, the vast expanse of space, local motifs and symbols,” said Chemat. “The spindle, for example, is a simple but meaningful object of creativity and provides ample inspiration to those at the cusp of new age of technology,” he observed. He also heads the society called Progressive Artists of Ladakh as its President. “Chemat was familiar with my research in Ladakh and was part of many conversations around this project, and in the summer of 2017 we decided formally to collaborate. We decided to focus on a particular set of objects, i.e, the Bogh, the Pabu Lapul, and the Tibril & Melang and discussed the ideas, which connected them. We decided to develop two existing themes in this work into the project: first to relocate the idea of the spindle and second to re-explore a sculpture he has created during his BFA, at the Institute of Music and Fine Arts, Jammu,” said Abeer Gupta. While Chemat expressed his gratefulness to Abeer Gupta for helping him with his art works. A group of objects, the Bogh, a colourful cape worn over the long woolen garments by women, the Pabu and Lapul, locally made warm shoes and the Tibril and Melang, a local set of utensils for serving warm tea, were chosen from the collections of the IGRMS, to map this transformation. These objects of daily life are found commonly in homes across all regions Ladakh, both rural and urban spaces and across social and religious groups. The process of their making, patterns of circulation and modes of use today, reveal a variety of stories.
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