Anushka Rustomjee and Marjan Baniasadi put a spotlight on the ‘Transition of traditions.’ With their current exhibition at the Taseer art gallery they activated the space with images from their respective cultures, highlighting the feeling of displacement that they have personally felt and how it has shaped their interest into the past and thus incurred an introspective look into themselves.
They worked collaboratively on ‘Ready-made Ruin’, an installation that was stenciled on the gallery floor with chalk passing through Anushka’s rectangular steel pieces showcasing the shared traditions and inherent ideologies that stem from their Iranian heritage. The traces of chalk were traversed upon as the gallery space filled with viewers. The temporal nature of the medium was seamlessly activated and the audience unknowingly became part of a performatory act of erasure. Where Anushka’s mythological creatures and Marjan’s traditional carpet imagery were wiped and blurred out into the periphery.
Anushka Rustomjee graduated from the National College of Arts in Lahore with a BFA in Painting. Her diverse works littered the gallery space, done in a wide range of mediums ranging from ink to watercolor and chalk. Being a Parsi her work delves into the layers of texts and imagery that resonates most with her,” reminiscent of ancient sculptures and monuments that were once present in the region of Mesopotamia.” Her work richly incorporates earthly hues and mythology coupled with meandering patterns derived from nature.
Marjan Baniasadi is a painting graduate from the National College of Arts currently based in Lahore. Having her origins in Iran her choice to engage with Old Persian carpets with oil and acrylic on canvas comes as a way of revealing her core sense of identity. Her large pieces emanate the warmest hues ranging from brown red, khaki, yellow and salmon which evoke within the artist feelings of comfort and are reminiscent of a home that is not lost but is out of reach. Over time
Marjan’s practice has ventured into the three dimensional incorporating real pieces of woolen thread into her canvas which creates an even more effective tactile link to the Persian rugs and carpets she draws inspiration from.
Subtle emergence of the blurred gardenscape in Marjan’s work shows a deep sense of connection to nature and her roots. Her work ‘Interwoven Memoir II’ shows a disintegration of facades and in turn enhances primarily the essential nature of things. In their pure essence, the lines are where representation and non representation bring forth a deep understanding of reality itself. Where through different perspectives, a version of reality may be glimpsed at and then lost in the cycle of sinking and rising.
Rustomjee’s ‘Imaginary Worlds’ reminded of a stretched gutted skin of an animal, something that perhaps may once have been used by primordial beings to etch their visions out onto. She created complex narratives by devolving into a past she believes is an essential part of her. There is an air of mystique that revolves around her narrative through the use of symbolic imagery such as that of the lion, Adad bull, Assyrian tree of life , winged Auroch, Sumerian mermaid which she incorporates into multiple pieces which were now brought in to the gallery space. This shifting of their origins yet again reinforces her concerns of the “physical relocation of ancient artifacts and monuments from the ‘East’ to the ‘West’ “
Both artists work was complimentary and diverse in the visuals that were brought to life in this exhibition. Creating an ongoing dialogue that was effective in resonating with the viewer.