In March, WAA had the pleasure of producing and exhibiting FOCUS Photography Festival’s only public art show.
The exhibition, How Many Seas, consisted of eleven monumental photographs facing the seashore on Bandra’s Carter Road. These images, collected by individual artists in Korea, Greece, Quebec, Romania, Bosnia, Ontario, and Iceland, formed an open constellation that speaks to the ambiguity of memory. Using both English and Hindi captions, the text and images employed different modes of writing: from poetic reflection to transcribed conversations. Together they evoked a fragmentary, allegorical form of storytelling.
Supported by the Quebec Government, the large scale exhibition has been curated and conceptualised by Canadian contemporary artist, photographer and academic, Raymonde April.
This was April’s fifth visit to India and second public art exhibition in Mumbai.
April comments,“The Afterlife project started right after my first residency in Mumbai, in 2012-2013, I wanted to give life to stories and images through a community, sharing a conversation about time, memory, space. I remember very clearly the first time I saw the Bandra seaside at sunset, how wide the ocean was, and how many living beings, people, animals, birds, populated its space, and how I could not decide to leave, being captivated by its multiple horizons. I could not dream of such an immense and beautiful site for showing our work.”
Afterlife or Outre-vie in French, is a research group created by April, together with ten artists and graduate students. It seeks to develop photographic and videographic practices that elucidate the ghostly afterlife of the images that comprise our present as much as our historical and artistic memory: Images do not (always) die away; they prolong the lives of foregone places and beings in their absence. The group takes name from the late Quebecois poet Marie Uguay, who writes: “Afterlife is when one is not yet in life, when one looks at it, when one seeks to enter it. One is not dead but already almost alive, almost born, being born perhaps, in this passage beyond borders and beyond time, which defines desire. Desire of the other, desire of the world […] Afterlife is like overseas or beyond the grave.” (1976).
On March 12th, along with April, we were joined by two other Afterlife members, Velibor Bozevic and Jinyoung Kim for the opening and walk-through of the exhibition. More than 70 people walked along with us, experiencing the magic and memory of the images juxtaposed with the iconic pink and saffron colours of Mumbai’s sunset on Carter Road. We later reconvened for drinks and a screening of Afterlife video works at the WAA project space.