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Montreal art exhibit features Indian powerhouse, 77-year-old Nalini Malani

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Crossing Boundaries, by Indian activist and artist Nalini Malani, is being featured at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA).

Malani’s first Canadian show addresses social inequality and violence against women, with the artist striving to promote justice through her work.

That’s one of many things that drew Chief Curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Mary-Dailey Desmarais to Malani’s exhibit, called, “Can You Hear Me?”

“What prompted it was Nalini’s outrage at the rape and subsequent murder of a young girl in India who was left in a temple for eight days and her voice — she’s calling, ‘Can you hear me? Can you help me?’ — went unheard,” Desmarais explained.

Malani is giving the girl a voice, through 88 hand-drawn animations she created on an iPad.

The soundtrack was composed on Garage Band, a music app.

At 77 years of age, Malani doesn’t shy away from experimenting with new media.

She became an artist in the 1960s and is considered one of India’s pioneers in video art.

“She’s somebody who is continuously reinventing herself, testing the limits of her practice,” Desmarais said.

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People are invited to lay down on bean bags and take their time to absorb and reflect on the artist’s message — and then, head out to the mural just outside the room, which was made by local artists Iuliana Irimia and Cassandra Dickie.

“It’s really a privilege and I’m really grateful for that experience,” Irimia said.

Irimia and Dickie were selected by Malani herself to execute her mural’s vision.

“City of Desires” was created live while museum visitors observed and sometimes did a little more than just look.

“Young kids who were actually short enough to walk under the barrier and did so. They come in and start playing with the charcoal,” said Dickie while sharing a laugh.

The mural will also be erased live in a flashmob-style performance directed by Malani.

“We don’t know who is doing it, how it’s being done,” Dickie said.

While that mystery remains unsolved, Malini’s final component of the exhibit is also projected on the museum’s façade.

“Ballad of a Woman” is an animation telling the story of a woman who is murdered and, in her afterlife, cleans up the traces of her death, protecting her killer.

It’s a reflection brought to life by a fascinating artist Montrealers can enjoy until the end of August, when the exhibit wraps up.

 

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Fiction About the Art World Is Trending. Here Are 8 New Novels to Read This Summer – artnet News

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Fiction About the Art World Is Trending. Here Are 8 New Novels to Read This Summer  artnet News

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‘Duck man!’ ‘Duck man!’ A look inside the world of unsanctioned art in self-serious Toronto – Toronto Star

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‘Duck man!’ ‘Duck man!’ A look inside the world of unsanctioned art in self-serious Toronto  Toronto Star

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Ehiko: The Multidisciplinary Artist Shaping Decolonization Through Art

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Ehiko, a multidisciplinary artist born in Lagos, Nigeria, now calls Toronto, Ontario, her home. An OCAD University graduate, she has gained recognition for her powerful and evocative works that delve into the complexities of decolonization, health and wellness, spirituality, sexual violence, and the representation of melanated hair.

Ehiko’s artistic journey began in the vibrant city of Lagos, where the rich cultural heritage and traditional artistry influenced her deeply. This foundation blossomed in Toronto, where she continued to experiment and manipulate raw canvas due to its flexibility. Her expressive palette and the use of various textiles pay homage to traditional Nigerian craftsmanship, creating a unique blend of contemporary and ancestral art forms.

Her works are not just visually striking but also laden with profound messages. Ehiko’s exploration of decolonization is evident in her large-scale multi-medium paintings, performances, drawings, and installations. Each piece she creates is a testament to her commitment to unravelling spirituality linked to traditional Afrakan masks, presenting a dialogue between the past and present.

One of the central themes in Ehiko’s work is health and wellness, particularly within the context of the Black community. She addresses the often-overlooked aspects of mental health and the importance of wellness practices rooted in African traditions. Through her art, Ehiko encourages a reconnection with these practices, promoting healing and resilience.

Sexual violence is another critical subject Ehiko tackles with sensitivity and boldness. Her works often depict the pain and trauma associated with such experiences while also highlighting the strength and resilience of survivors. By bringing these issues to the forefront, she fosters conversations that are essential for societal change and healing.

The representation of melanated hair in Ehiko’s art is a celebration of Black identity and beauty. Her pieces challenge societal norms and stereotypes, presenting Black hair in its diverse and natural forms. This representation is not only about aesthetics but also about reclaiming cultural identity and pride.

Ehiko’s exhibitions in Lagos and Toronto have garnered significant attention, and her private collection of purchased work is available upon request. Her contributions to the art world extend beyond her creations; she is also an advocate for using art as a tool for social change and empowerment.

In every piece, Ehiko weaves her experiences, heritage, and vision, creating a tapestry that speaks to the heart and mind. Her work is a powerful reminder of the role of art in decolonization and healing, and her journey continues to inspire and influence the global art community.

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