Is there a contemporary in Ladakhi art?
For the current generation of artists in Ladakh, who trained in various institutions across India, the contemporary art movement in Tibet has worked as a primer to discover a secular modernism in their practice. They are exploring local materials and regional forms, within ideas of environment, migration and development, at once re-claiming their cultural identity from primitivism and attempting to articulate their agencies of making. Art from the region has in the past been either co-opted into an assortment of Buddhist Art or presented without suitable context. It has also evolved beyond the illustrative tradition into exploring forms which are far more self-conscious and inter-textual, embracing ideas from the digital and exploring notions more deeply rooted within the region.
The proposed curatorial project wishes to explore how a developing contemporary art practice balances the weight of tradition, ekes out a space for critical exchange and a secular art practice. The project will engage with five contemporary artists, from photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media from Leh in order to present a more nuanced and textured representation. This is important first, to give a voice to the various narratives and second, establish a frame of reference to looking at visual and material culture from the region at a time when Ladakh is trying to forge a new identity.
01 Chemat Dorjey
02 Tashi Namgial
03 Tundup Churpon
04 Tsering Motup
05 Jigmet Angmo