With an exhibition that honours Gandhi, The Saatchi Gallery, London has opened an exhibit titled “The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today” which will be open to the public until May 7th of this year.
When viewers first enter the exhibit they pass through an area that contains 4,479 fibreglass bones that are arranged to spell out a peaceful non-violent plea that was made by Gandhi.
However, as viewers turn the corner the mood quickly chances as the art becomes much darker and almost frightening at times throughout the remaining eleven spaces.
The most shocking piece is possibly the Allah O Akbar by Jaishri Abichandani, which portrays the glory of martyrdom and the rigorous demands of Islam by spelling out ‘God is Great’ with shining green and red whips.
Also frightening is a large figure in a bag with clay hands that emerge resembling the remains of an executed individual in the form of a sculpture by Huma Hhabha.
Another notable installation is the sculpture of a Mumbai child that was created by Jitish Kallat. While the small child is offering books for sale portraying him as a fighter, the mood quickly switches for those who reach out to touch him and find that the statue’s black lead finish will leave a dark mark on their hands.
For the most part, the aim of the gallery is to shock visitors by violently shaking their senses and emotions instead of pleasurably calming them. However, it is a different taste of the world that should not be missed; especially given the fact the gallery is free.