BENGALURU: Art is an expansive subject to interpret. But here’re cultural curators Myna Mukherjee and Davide Quadrio, who are making an attempt to capture the vast nature of contemporary art forms spread across India and Italy through a documentary. The yet-to-be titled documentary is directed by Indian filmmaker Onir and Italian filmmaker Alessandra Galletta, who will be shooting in different parts of India including Bengaluru during the first week of May.
The documentary captures the exciting world of contemporary art forms in both the countries by investigating the semiotics and symbols surrounding them in history and culture. It focuses on giving the audience a glimpse into the aesthetics of the two regions in different art forms like architecture, fashion, dance, music, paintings, theatre, crafts and mythology.
According to Mukherjee, who is also the director of Engendered, Transnational Arts and Human Rights, New Delhi, the documentary gives an everyday account of the art forms we see in our lives. “Viewers will be able to understand the psyche behind the Indian art forms; its academical reference, pedagogy and craftsmanship. For example, a stone in India could be seen as a Shivalinga or prakruthi, which has a more figurative meaning here. The same in the western world is seen as an abstract,” says Mukherjee.
In Bengaluru, the team is working to feature the famous Nritiyagram Dance Ensemble in Hessarghatta, which is India’s first modern gurukul for Indian classical dance forms. The makers also intend to explore how Artificial Intelligence is helping shape visual art, with the help of Bengaluru-based artistes, Raghava KK and Karthik Kalyanaraman. Besides, the collaboration will also bring India’s and Italy’s plural histories of art and culture under the spotlight.
Mukherjee observes that both countries have rich living traditions of handicraft and art — from printing and weaving, natural dyes to carpets and basket-making. From capturing the ajrak art forms in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, to the makers of silk rugs in Kashmir, the documentary also aims to throw light on the plight of artisans, owing to the pandemic. In addition, it captures the shared history of the two countries, with the tempera painting method — Rajput paintings in India to the tempera paintings in Italy during the early Renaisance period.
“It’s not the conflict between past and present that is interesting, but how the present is coming from history. When you’re talking about how tradition is preserved, you also see professionals who build on that tradition. We are going to alphabets of creativity and showing that art is a discourse and a practice which is not in conflict but a natural consequence even though it might go against tradition,” says Quadrio.