Coined in 1871 by American scientist Silas Weir Mitchell, the term ‘Phantom Limb’ refers to the sensation experienced by an amputee that his missing limb is still attached to the body. Scientists have discovered that many of these cases are painful too.
It now forms the theme of an exhibition displaying photographs, installations, videos and mixed media artworks by seven artists. They have explored painful sensations impacting our minds despite the passage of great amount of time since their occurrence.
There’s Moonis Ahmad Shah’s wall installation on the agony of Kashmir through a couple of brick walls installed in the gallery carrying imprints of graffiti. The wall is more of a collage with scraped out film posters, a phrase reading, ‘we want freedom’ with a part of it crossed out and an advertisement of a mobile network company.
“I have tried to ask questions around Kashmir’s landscape. Various places here are filled with such imprints. The erased texts depict a certain kind of conversation between the state and the public, between power and resistance,” says Shah, adding, “Kashmir is nowadays quite distant from the beautiful, romantic landscape as showcased in movies.”
“Is Kashmir India’s phantom limb?” wonders curator Meera Menezes. “We as a nation feel the pain of Kashmiris.”Menezes insists seeing a lot of artworks and brings it all together if she finds linkages between those. “For this exhibition, I started with the Chandan Gomes project, which was on the aftermath of Nirbhaya rape case, and Sohrab Hura’s photographs that document his mother’s mental illness. But apart from the individual cases, I also started looking at the global scenario of displacement and alienation. Further reading on trauma studies brought the theme of phantom limb.”
In a three-channel video installation, titled ‘About to’ Cessation, artist Priyank Gothwal address the inbuilt trauma that everyone is believed to carry from birth, and it appears as an everlasting absence of a limb throughout one’s life. “Each video is 10 minutes long, featuring a guardian angel in a cemetery. The angel, metaphorically, cries out for this partial effect of time by depicting the everlasting and stuck sorrow inside her (as she’s standing in a graveyard). I’ve tried to offer her the time where she can outgrow her pain and feel something new. This fictional narrative towards the statue of an angel reflects my own existential fight with time and its effects over me.”
Till: December 2
At: Shridharini Gallery