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apexart :: Regimes of Truth :: Shaunak Mahbubani
apexart - New Delhi, India
Regimes of Truth

organized by Shaunak Mahbubani

October 7 - November 3, 2018

Opening Reception:
Saturday, October 6


An Open Call exhibition



Sandip Kuriakose, Suresh Kumar Koushal v. NAZ Foundation (India) Trust (Civil Appeal No. 10972 of 2013), 2017


SUBMITTED PROPOSAL:
As India's right-wing fundamentalist party enters the final year of its term in government under Prime Minister Modi, the time is ripe to reflect on the changes brought about by this leadership on the country's socio-political landscape. Amidst a slew of public mob-lynchings and drastic environmental crimes, of particular note is the fabrication of historical, communal, and emotional narratives as devices to claim and consolidate political control. These altered narratives are being propagated through news-media and state-controlled educational materials, while non-conforming media outlets are legally and physically persecuted.

This exhibition is a means for citizens to view, assemble and interrogate disparate strategies used by the ruling party under one lens. To be housed in an abandoned printing press building, it is framed through Foucault's notion of Knowledge-Power, exploring the theory that that power is not solely a destructive force, but also a 'producer of reality'. Control over knowledge, through surveillance and censorship, allows for the subtle and often unnoticed enforcement of new 'regimes of truth', as illustrated by the campaign to create a populist 'Hindu Nation' out of India.

The works on display include Payal Arya's smokey landscape of objects bearing witness to the diversions of news-media, Arko Datto's panopticon carrying photographs of everyday surveillance cameras, Mandeep Raikhy's charged sound and movement piece Savdhaan (Attention) being performed across the exhibition space, Sandeep Kuriokose's printed work layering upon Indian Penal Code section 377 which criminalises homosexuality, and Aditra Das' satirical video installation reexamining myths of nationalism.

The set of works critiquing the current state of power are contrasted by community-centric disseminators of knowledge. Viewers in the exhibition also experience instances of work done by grassroots organisations Video Volunteers, who train social justice movements in audiovisual production, and Henvalvani Radio, a village-centric women-run radio station in the Himalayan region, as small sites of resistance, leaving one with hope of still evading, subverting and contesting those who enact power.

*The text above was submitted to apexart’s 2018-19 International Open Call, and rated by over 300 jurors. Any specific artists or venues mentioned are unconfirmed and subject to change.


Shaunak Mahbubani is a nomadic curator, currently based in New Delhi, India. They primarily pursue projects under the series Allies for the Uncertain Futures initiated in 2016. This exhibition series is focused on excavating the possibilities of socio-political, ecological, and techno-evolutionary futures through the lens of non-duality. They are keenly interested in complicating boundaries between the work and the viewer through the deployment of participatory devices, diffusions, and the use of non white cube spaces. Mahbubani is currently Curator of Programming for The Gujral Foundation, an international not-for-profit foundation supporting art and culture.

apexart’s programs are supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation, Affirmation Arts Fund, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Fifth Floor Foundation, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
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