Ishara Art Foundation presents artworks curated from the Prabhakar collection that invoke our relationship to reading and remembering as collective acts of resistance.

Ishara Art Foundation presents artworks curated from the Prabhakar collection that invoke our relationship to reading and remembering as collective acts of resistance.

Neha Choksi, Touching Integrity (Larch) 8, 2016
Woodcut on Kozo paper, 228.6 cm x 127.3 cm, Prabhakar Collection, Photo: Anil Rane

Every Soiled Page is Ishara Art Foundation’s fourth exhibition dedicated to exploring ways in which art expands our sensitivities to witnessing and forming collective memories. Taking a silverpoint etching of an olive tree by artist Praneet Soi as a point of departure, the exhibition attempts to expand the notion of bearing witness beyond the human to the planetary dimensions of remembering. We as society remember, but the earth too remembers. Its each fragment remembers, the trees and soil remember. If indeed history and time inscribe themselves onto the earth and encode themselves into all forms of life, where shall we begin reading? Colonialism and modernity believed in unearthing the past and gorging it out in order to preserve it. What if there are other ways of bearing witness and reading what’s inscribed on every soiled page? 

Praneet Soi, Olive Tree IV, 2020
Silverpoint on linen, 31.5 x 31.5 in each
Coll: Prabhakar Collection

The title of this exhibition draws inspiration from Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem ‘Memory’ that was written in 1953 while he was imprisoned in the Montgomery Central Jail in Pakistan. Taking cue from the poem, the exhibition proposes art as a site for reverse archaeology, where materials, voices, inscriptions and testimonies produce a field of resonance for bearing witness and remembering as an act of resistance. Faiz’s verses powerfully invoke that to remember we must apprehend every soiled page, listen to the reverberations collectively, even sing with them the songs that rise with each day. 

Inder Salim, Every Page Soiled, 2020, Performance-Installation, Prabhakar Collection
Photo: Harsh Kumar

The exhibition is curated by Sabih Ahmed and features works from the Prabhakar Collection by artists Anju Dodiya, Astha Butail, Neha Choksi, Praneet Soi and Sunil Padwal, and a newly commissioned performance installation by Inder Salim that will expand the exhibition into a space of readings, recitals, inscriptions and annotations. 

Anju Dodiya, Fountain – 2014
Mixed media on printed paper, 37.4 cm x 27.3 cm

About Ishara Art Foundation 

Ishara Art Foundation was founded in 2019 as a non-profit organisation dedicated to presenting contemporary art of South Asia. Located in Dubai, the Foundation supports emerging and established practices that advance critical dialogue and explore global interconnections.

Guided by a research-led approach, Ishara realises its mission through exhibitions, onsite and online programmes, education initiatives and collaborations in the UAE and internationally. The Foundation facilitates exchange between South Asian and international artistic networks that include museums, foundations, institutions, galleries and individuals.

The Ishara logo, a synthesis of a square and circle, is based on an ideogram by Zarina to convey the word ’آسمان’ (‘Aasman’), sky. It forms one of 36 images from ‘Home is a Foreign Place’ (1999), a work in the collection of Ishara’s founder and chairperson, Smita Prabhakar. Ishara signifies a gesture, a signal or a hint, and is a word common to several languages including Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Swahili and Urdu. | @isharaartfoundation