An ongoing exhibition at KNMA brings together the best of pop art from across South Asia
A picture from the series ‘Love Studio’ (2010-2015), by Samsul Alam Helal
Pop South Asia: Artistic Explorations in the Popular at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), Saket, New Delhi, brings together over 100 artworks by artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the South Asian diaspora. The exhibition, which was earlier on view at the Sharjah Art Foundation, has been curated by artist lftikhar Dadi, Cornell University professor John H. Burris and Roobina Karode, director and chief curator of KNMA.
The works span a time frame from the mid-20th century to the present, and include M.F. Husain, whose entire oeuvre could perhaps be viewed as pop art.
Meanwhile, a few artworks popped out at us. These include Sri Lankan-born Ramesh Nithiyendran’s vibrantly coloured figurines, Pakistani artist Saba Khan’s ‘Gymkhana Ladies Swimming’ and Dhaka-based Samsul Alam Helal’s Love Studio (2010-2015) series, which references South Asian photo booths with their escapist backdrops.
The work of Tsherin Sherpa, who divides his time between Kathmandu and California, is inspired by Tibetan Buddhism but with a contemporary twist as can be seen in ‘Daka’ (2022). Performance artist Pushpamala N.’s ‘Lakshmi’ (2004) is a recreation of an oleograph by Raja Ravi Varma. While the artists, we’re told, are “addressing complex issues facing the self and society”, they certainly seem to be having fun while doing so.
(Pop South Asia is showing at KNMA, Saket, till July 31)