(Inner Eye Arts Board Member)
2020 will be a year that will be remembered and etched in history for the extraordinary times presented to the man kind in various ways throughout the world. Frequently referred to as the “unprecedented” times. These were times that saw people coming together to fight for equity, justice and equal opportunities. Human Society made adjustments and is still fighting with a pandemic that has taken millions of lives globally. The pandemic also brought in shutdown of economies and gave rise to greater inequities in society. It infact stole the biggest gift that the human race has - touch and face-to-face interactions. We learned to don masks and harbored hope in our hearts. In the US, Black Lives Matter movement saw great momentum. Masks cannot quieten the decibels of voices that demand a fair world for all.
Amidst this, somewhere in every corner, there existed a sanctum space of love, that healed all the hurt that was being left behind.
To honor this radical power of love "Dhai Akhar: Seeded in Love" a show organized by Inner Eye Art and curated by Pallavi Sharma, featured artists and writers whose art practice creates a dialogic space for healing and transformation. Inspired by the teaching, poetry, and the life of saint-poet 'Kabir', the showcase urges inclusion, acceptance, and equity for all, standing firmly against the instigation of hate and communal violence. Kabir was a 15th century poet and saint in India whose work was primarily devotional, interlaced with a message for the society at large.
Featuring eminent folk singer Padma Shri Prahlad Singh Tipaniya whose kabir bhajan’s mesmerized the audience while instilling a deeper message of love and healing. We will also be ever grateful to Pranjali Sirsarao for connecting
We also share with you some of the thought provoking and inspirational work by the other participating artists.
Lydia used the cotton boll as a symbol for the Japanese presence in Peru, for the first wave of Japanese immigrants who came to work in the cotton plantations. The bolls are made out of handmade paper created by combining mulberry fiber, a traditional fiber used for making kozo paper, with Yerba Buena, an herb used in Latin America for soothing pain. By combining these fibers, Lydia aim’s at healing some of the wounds experienced by her family and other Peruvian Japanese who were affected by the actions of the governments of Peru and the United States during World War II which labelled them as enemies because of their Japanese ancestry.
Reiko Fujii’s installation “Lost…Withdrawn” is a collection of intimate altered library catalog cards, revealing the love of a mother-daughter relationship, along with a reflection of quiet thoughts, using found words, images that were taken of each other and a single strand of hair.
Points Words Threads explores the notion of otherness and ethnic cleansing by juxtaposing contrasting tactile and visual elements. And through the process of collaboration that creates the work, contradicts the very premise of otherness and cleansing, that there is a self without others.
Ellen’s work draws from my Japanese ethnic roots, honoring personal and collective history. She also explores the wider connections between culture, nature and art. I strive to evoke an awareness of our present sense of place and self and to address broader social and political issues.
Recent events with police violence, Black Lives Matter movement, and the healthcare disparity in the wake of COVID 19 compelled Nirmal Raja to examine Tagore’s poem “Where the mind is without fear” with renewed interest The flawed foundations of what seemed immovable and permanent are being called out and examined. Each brick of our society is being nudged, peeled, shoved, removed, dusted off and re-laid with an acknowledgement to truth and towards something stronger. The work continues, one brick at a time, one small systemic change at a time. Progress is slow and although sometimes it may feel like “one step forward, two steps back”, that is what nation building is. A slow and continual labor of love.
All the board members at Inner Eye Art extend their utmost gratitude to all the participating artist for coming together to tell their stories that portray the power of love. We are also extremely thankful for those who were in the audience on the 7th October for the viewing of the show. If you missed it, you can watch the recorded version of the show here