This exhibition was planned as part of an initiative to bring creative practitioners from diverse disciplines together at KHOJ studios, in the hopes of creating a stimulating environment for critical discourse and dialogue. Keywords and Baans (Bamboo) brought together contemporary artist Anita Dube with young architect Asim Waqif.
Letters were cut and words were written from slabs of meat. She invited the audience to dissect their meanings and histories in collaboration with her. The work aimed to explore the movement from the body to concept, whilst also examining the idea of performance as an embodiment of theatrical power and pedagogy. Materiality was incredibly significant to Dube in this work and the choice of meat was a reference to religious symbology and commentary.
“The question I am asking is how you can give body to things by experimenting with materials and embodying words. ” Dube.
As an architect Waqif has always been fascinated with concrete shuttering structures, its ‘jugad’-ness, although haphazard, is utility-based. He is also inspired by shadi-pandaals and the Bengali migrant labour that construct them in Delhi. These structures act as a base, a skeleton, they are not the objective but a means to another. Here the bamboo was reused, just as it was after this installation; but during the exhibit the bamboo was the Kohinoor, the object.
The ambience of the space, the introverted-ness, claustrophobia, anti-socialness; blandness, gaudiness, uncomfortableness were all of vast importance. Everyone lives in their own protected spaces, not only physically but also figuratively: who they meet, what they do, and what they talk about dominate how they exist. Wasif aimed to force the viewer to encounter a new space that compelled them to behave extraordinarily, to rethink, to doubt, and to even dismiss their habitual ways of being.