A brilliant artist. Her determination to bring out the injustices committed against artists of the past, for example, poets (near and dear to my heart as I consider myself not an artist but a poet), is something that I greatly admire.
Her installation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale titled For, in Your Tongue, I Can Not Hide, features the work of one hundred poets, dead poets imprisoned for their poetry and or politics. Shilpa’s oeuvre attempts to re-secure the voice of 100 poets who, in different times and in different centuries have been imprisoned for their writings and/or their political positions. The installation is made filling a room with printed sheets of the prisoners’ poems impaled on metal rods. They are accompanied by recorded recitations of the poems. This work is a bona fide effort to try to bring forth to the light of the present day how vulnerable our right to free speech may actually be. In today’s world there are many countries, like communist Cuba, communist China, and communist North Korea, among others, where there is no freedom of expression whatsoever.
The voices of the imprisoned poets are in many languages, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, English et cetera and they come out you all together from the microphones, which do not let you speak but beckon you to listen. Many people have told me it reminds them of the voices of those like Mandela. However, when mentioning the countries where poets, writers and journalists are still imprisoned they mention countries like Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon but not countries like Cuba, Russia, North Korea. I’ve heard many lament the plight of those killed or jailed by autocratic or totalitarian right wing regimes but few speak of those suffering persecution in communist or left leaning countries. I find that dichotomy hipocritical to the extreme.
I have not heard the voices, nor do I know who the 100 poets are in Shilpa’s installation but I sincerely hope she has included there the voices of Cuban writers and poets silenced forever by the communist regime, writers like Lizama Lima who was imprisoned in his home and decreed persona non grata.
Shilpa was born in Bombay in 1976. She works different mediums to include objets trouvés, installations, to videos and to computer based installation and performance. Although I am not a fan of these types of conceptual art, I have to admire the fact that this artist has chosen to speak up for those who have been formally and officially shut down. That makes a difference to me.
Reference her work, she states, “I am interested in perception and therefore, with how definitions get stretched or trespassed, be it gender, beliefs, or the notion of a state.”
Her work has been shown in many places and she has participated in these biennials (some very prestigious, some created for propaganda purposes, like the Havana Biennial):
Venice Biennale (2019); Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018, 2019);GöteborgBiennial (2017, 2015); Havana Biennial (2015, 2006); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); Sharjah Biennale ’13 (2013); New Museum Triennial (2009); Biennale de Lyon (2009); Gwangju Biennale (2008); Yokohama Triennale (2008); the Liverpool Biennial (2006) and biennales at Auckland, Seville, Seoul, Sydney and Shanghai.
Shilpa is a very highly recognised conceptual artist. She has been leading that genre for more than twenty years and has influenced many young artists who aim towards that direction of art. Her work is in the Guggenheim collection as well as the Caixa Forum here in Spain.
I am a poet who writes, paints and creates music here in my city of Valencia, Spain. Besides this blog I also post my artwork (paintings) as well as digital art (photography) to my INSTAGRAM which I invite you to visit: @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera . My YouTube channel contains short photo montages of my work and the works of many of the artists that I feature here in my blog. My background music is always one of my original compositions, many times performed by myself and others with my group the Abstract Jazz Arrangement (AJA), some of our earlier material you can listen to here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/aja . I leave you with a short video clip of some of my pen/graphite on paper illustrations. Through this link you can access my YouTube channel.