Oh man!

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CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

A man should never show an emotional weakness. A man should always be the one in charge. A man should always have the answers to everything. These are but a few oft perceived misconceptions that people generally seem to have with regards to the male gender. But are all these qualities really essential in defining a man? What qualifies as being man enough?

These are the root questions behind the season’s opening exhibition Man Enough at Cube Gallery, Moira which begins from October 4. “The show will witness the convening of a group of diverse male artists who will explore their personal experience of being a man as opposed to conventional masculinity. And these narratives are at times funny, moving and emotional too,” says Elvina Halli who together with Sonny Singh, the founder of the gallery, has curated this exhibition.

Sonny will also be putting up his art works at the exhibition along with Alok Johri, Francis De Sousa, Julio D’souza, Max Orlitsky, Querozito De Souza, Ramdas Gadekar, Shripad Gurav and Suhas Shilker.

They will interpret juxtapose practised and primordial gender doctrine to distinguish between ‘Man’ and ‘Self’; through different mediums be it paintings, photography, sculpture etc. These artists have also been selected with care so as to get a wide range of perspectives such as through a difference in age, region, medium as it is important for people to see a wide range.

Besides this Bhisaji Gadekar will hold an interactive performance that invites audience participation. In the 90 minute act, the artist will mask himself with layers of clay – a substance with deep biological and cultural relevance.

Clay is scientifically debated to have acted as a prehistoric incubator for biochemical evolution before the formation of living cells. Culturally, clay is reminiscent of native Goan soil and the artist’s act is reminiscent of the artist’s boyhood in rural Goa. The malleable soil is an early memory of imaginative tactile experiments and play. It ties the beginning of individual life to the founding identity of the earth and civilisation at large.

Bhisaji portrays his body, the physical symbol of manhood, as a complex canvas. Each application of clay exposes its physiologically primeval form while simultaneously remaking it into a synergised hybrid of inherited and conditioned qualities.

The idea for this exhibition, says Halli, was born last year at their art exhibition ‘She’ which saw eight women artists portraying their view of femininity on canvas.

“A year later it felt appropriate to show the other side. Men also often experience a number of stereotypes along life’s journey but these are often not spoken about,” says Halli.

And Halli agrees that the definition of being man enough is constantly evolving.

“It was different in our grandparent’s time and in our parent’s time and will be different for our children. Thus, this dialogue is always important,” she feels.

The fact that the exhibition is being held in the village of Moira is also important, believes Hali.

“It demonstrates that even though the place is unusual and a little remote, this conversation can be held in any form and anywhere in the world,” she says.

(Man Enough, an exhibition of contemporary art opens on October 4, 7 p.m. at The Cube Gallery, Moira)

 

A SNEAK PEEK

l Abstract painter, Suhas Shilker, employs magazine cut-outs layered with ink and paint to depict commercialised sexuality that reinforces traditional gender roles.

l Shripad Gaurav’s multimedia drawings parody this socialised version of male sexuality through bitingly satirical depictions of overt confidence and deep vulnerability.

l Photographer, Alok Johri, captures candid portraits and nudes to emphasise the psycho-social effect of and self-reflective masculinity. The vulnerable strength of his male subjects poses an important philosophical question: how does inward perception alter the outward image?

l Playfully bold installations by Sonny Singh employ weapons and mechanisation to link masculine traits with human volition – positioning individual choices as anchors to broader social constructs.

l Post-modernist, Francis De Souza employs an observant, comedic tone to tackle the ironies of household power dynamics with a signature palette of wit and watercolour.

l In a more sentimental conversation on family life, Ramdas Gadekar’s monochromatic ceramic sculptures expose the emotional and psychological cost of stoic masculinity.

l Delving further into the philosophical nature of self-recognition, Russian artist, Max Orlitsky, creates richly coloured expressionist canvases that illustrate identity as a conscious synthesis of countless internal and external forces like genetics, gender, age and culture.

l Julio D’Souza draws upon Nietzsche’s analogy of ‘The Superman’ to study a similar vein of self-evolution. The artist employs a unique style of gothic surrealism to sketch inhuman and parahuman creatures that symbolise gender-driven self-conflict.

l Metaphysical works by Querozito De Souza extend this psycho-social exploration as the venerable Goan painter separates identity from anatomy to spotlight the distinction between individuality and gender.