Digitally reworked photographs meet poetic musings for a truly unique show.
Spiritual principles and the soul are themes strongly anchored within Akshita Gandhi’s artistry and Anukrti Upadhyay’s writing. During quarantine, confined separately in Mumbai, the two friends continued to develop their respective practices. When the rains arrived, usually a time of celebration and gathering, they decided to create bodies of work in tandem to commemorate the start of the new summer season.
In the exhibition, Traveling Souls, the artist, Akshita and the writer, Anukriti transport you to the once-bustling city of Bombay. Akshita has digitally reworked photographs she has taken of colonial architecture in Mumbai, like the Horniman Circle, and other iconic views of the city – void of people yet reverberating with flickering light and bold energy. Anukriti, in her poetry, oscillates between the evocation of the rains and the anxieties of our current situation. Even within confinement, there are souls traversing the city; art offers you to take a path of your choice, anywhere, without having to be physically present. “When I am creating and Anukrti is writing our souls are traveling,” says artist Gandhi. The penetrating and raw work on view tackles issues of loss and longing serving as an escape or energetic outlet for artists and viewers alike.
The exhibition has been curated by Anna Mikaela Ekstrand, an independent curator based in NYC. It is presented by ATO Gallery (@ato_gallery), a leading online platform for discovering contemporary artists, and Cultbytes (@cultbytes), a communications agency and online art publication covering contemporary art and culture from a broad but critical perspective.
The works will be on display until 15th October 2020, to view the exhibition, please login into to www.travelingsouls.online/virtual-tour
About the Artist
Akshita Gandhi is a multi-media artist based in Mumbai. By merging social, historical, and mythological concepts her work concentrates on breaking out of stereotypical gender roles, grappling with the history of colonialism, and self-empowerment. Her body immersive installations include Le cirque de la liberté (2020), a mise-en-scène inspired by the circus and Dare to Break Free (2020), a commission by the Berlin- based music festival Kater Blau. In the mixed media painting, lightbox, and poetry series Freedom, I Read Banned Books (2019-) she advocates breaking free from patriarchal structures. Gandhi holds an MFA from the Lotus Institute in Dubai. Her work is collected by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and she has collaborated with designer Frank DeBourge during New York Fashion Week, the Indian menswear brand Kurtees. Gandhi’s work is exhibited extensively at galleries and art fairs in India, the United States, and beyond.
About the Writer
Anukrti Upadhyay is an award-winning Indian national author that divides her time between Mumbai and Singapore. She writes in both English and Hindi. She stunned readers and critics alike with the twin novellas Daura and Bhaunri (2019) published by HarperCollins under their prestigious literary imprint, Fourth Estate. She delighted Hindi readers with short story collection Japani Sarai published by Rajpal and Sons and HarperCollins released her third novel in English, Kintsugi, in July. A short novel in Hindi is to be published in September 2020 and HarperCollins will publish a volume of short stories in English in July 2021. Her short stories in both and English and Hindi have appeared in prestigious literary journals. Upadhyay has post-graduate degrees in Literature and Management, and a graduate degree in Law. Anukrti has previously worked for Goldman Sachs and UBS in Hong Kong and India. Currently, she is working with Wildlife Conservation Trust, a conservation think-tank. She also wrote a doctoral thesis on human relationships in post-modern Hindi stories in a past life.