The latest exhibition by Art Centrix Space ‘Peppery Soliloquies’ shows the different flavours of life and explores narratives around spices
It has been estimated through the fields of archaeology, geology and science that the estimated watermark for humankind to use spices goes as far back as 50,000 BC.
Exploring the historical and contemporary narratives around spices, Art Centrix Space presents ‘Peppery Soliloquies’, an art exhibition curated by Georgina Maddox, showcasing artworks by ten artists across the country.
“Peppery stories, grandmas’ recipes, aromas, whiffs of spices. The all-too-familiar took on a new importance during the pandemic. While eating out was always flavourful, it’s the fragrance of home that became more fulfilling and enticing even as the aromas of distant lands became a distant memory. Art is always connected to life, what we see, observe and feel,” says Monica Jain, Curatorial Director of Art Centrix Space.
The exhibition features the works of Arunkumar HG, Karol Antao, Vasundhara Tewari Broota, Lavanya Mani, Kishore Chakraborty, Chetan Mevada, Damini Choudhari, Meghna Patpatia and Khanjan Dalai.
“We have encouraged our artists to explore in contemporary times and trace out the voice of the following aspects our peppery soliloquies employing art, references literature, ancient scripts, history and documents and of course contemporary times, where we examine the influence of species upon the following various aspects of life, from the everyday to the historical, from its aroma and flavour in food to its Ayurvedic usage, from the aphrodisiacal to the mythological, from religious aspects, its medicinal usage. During the pandemic, our artists have turned inwards and created works especially for the show that look at this aspect of the spice trail of India and East Asia,” says Georgina Maddox.
Each artist explores the subject in their own ways. For instance, Karl Antao revisits the erotic nature of spices, where two recumbent flower pots morph into seed-like structures and then pods of a flowering garlic plant. He has always found garlic as an interesting spice-root because it is an aphrodisiac and it has medical properties.
On a personal note, Kishore Chakraborty explores the flavour of spice through the colour red. “A disillusioned Marxist and a typical Bengali I have enough masala (spice) in my life, where politics is an inhabitable legacy that we inherit by birth which ensnares our very existence and marks its presence through each quantum of thoughts,” says the artist.
Chetan Mevada’s works Market and Vyapara reference the cycle of growth, sale and consumption of the spices like kasuri methi, (fenugreek leaves), pudina (mint), bay leaf and other spice crops are indicated in hidden repetitive and geometric patterns as they appear half peeping out of the earth.
The exhibition is on display at Art Centrix Space till March 12