Decoding the box


Sunaparanta-Goa Centre for the Arts is presenting a group show of contemporary art works ‘Box Politics &
its Poetry’ that commences today. In this exhibition the box turns into the main site for inquiry


Over the past year, the box, an architectural unit, became central to our lives. It was a source of protection and solitude but also of fear and loneliness.

And thus in the upcoming art show at Sunaparanta-Goa Centre for the Arts ‘Box Politics & its Poetry’, the participating artists position themselves at this threshold and invite a reconsideration of how we perceive and think in space.

Contemplating the box as an architectural plane, the curator of this show Leandre D’Souza says that the box is today a central motif in our lives. “Over the past year, it has been a source of shelter, protection, solitude. It has also become a symbol of loneliness, fear and insecurity,” she says. And as a geometric object, she adds, the box serves multiple functions. “Physically, it is an embodiment of angles. Metaphorically, it is a repository of memories, thoughts, desires and dreams.” The works in this exhibition thus function as a blueprint, a sort of imagined geography.

D’Souza tells us that the show displays various aesthetic strategies that invite a consideration of how we negotiate interior and exterior landscapes. “As a container of past, present and future, we witness how space can shape us, how it adapts to us and how it moulds our human virtues,”
she says.

The exhibition will feature a combination of new works by contemporary artists as well as works from a private collection.

Dhondu’s ‘Lonely Residents’ which will be part of the exhibition is a study of people from different parts of the world, adjusting and adapting to life indoors. Initiated in 2020, the artist invited people stuck indoors to send him a picture of themselves in their homes along with a short description on how they were coping with isolation. These photographs were then transformed into drawings. Now, in their physical form, ‘Lonely Residents’ turns into an archive of a moment in time and serves as a reminder of how people from across the world survived the challenges of quarantine life.

Also on display will be ‘Halo Box’ by Earl Park. The Halo Box puts together two disconnected objects: a circular light and an old hat box once used for travel. This unusual juxtaposition alters the function of both items, and in their coalescing, they turn into a bag containing light. The old hatbox is meant to evoke a sense of travelling through different eras. The halo takes inspiration from Rococo paintings that combined colours and ornaments to create the illusion of light and drama around the subject. This exhibit is part of the artist’s ongoing Halo Project that explores how the metaphor of light is perceived and experienced by viewers.

In Jiyoung Yoon’s ‘Untitled’, she turns a suitcase into a candle. She paints its interior surface and then conceals the artwork with a coat of wax. In order to discover the work buried inside, the viewer needs to light up the candle. As the wax melts, the image reveals itself in response to the rise in temperature. However, upon cooling, the wax hardens again, and the artwork concealed underneath. Yoon has also added a slate, chalk and a catalogue inviting viewers to interact directly with the different objects they find. The artist often explores notions of ephemerality witnessed in the play of hide-and-seek through experiments with material. She also incorporates aspects of childishness seen in the subtle discoveries and surprises contained within the box.

Apart from these, works of Prabhakar Barwe, George Byrne, Yamini Nayar, Jagannath Panda, Sudhir Patwardhan, Shrimanti Saha, and Vasantha Yogananthan will be on display.