Leena Kejriwal - Leading Indian Photographer  


January 12, 2011

Entropic Sites, New Delhi.

For the forthcoming exhibition at the Shrine Empire Gallery in Delhi, the artist revisits her major work by re-organising her material by adding a series of newer photographic works that explores the vulnerable position of young girls in urban settings as the vulnerable prey of predator males.

The new installation, Entropic Sites, marks an important stage for the artist, whose own engagement of social and sexual issues has been deepened recently by the work of NGO’s, including the Apne Aap Women Worldwide organization, which encourages us to revisit the question of our medieval relationship to slavery and prostitution. Alongside the benefits of a city that provides us with shelter, work and pleasure, we still
have to consider how we can work together effectively to abolish such types of behavior.

Kejriwal has lived and worked in Kolkata, where the initial avatar of this installation, East City, was installed at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture. Kejriwal’s astute understanding of her city provided an intriguing study of one of our most enriched centres of culture: her eastern city. The installation, East City, allowed us an understanding of how one can study the continuing behaviour of our ancestors and
the platitudes of progress. Here, the seams of modernity are encrusted with village idioms and pulsate with revolutionary inventions; the interweaving of religions, languages and the vestiges of colonialism all co-exist in the former capital of British India and the epi-centre of the Bay of Bengal, populated by babus and bibis who slowly begin to question its current dynamics.

For Entropic Sites, a very dark palimpsest is exposed. Often we are arrested by the cat-and-mouse aesthetics of the city’s intent and its contemporary purpose, as the evasive advertising turns the classical into kitsch, and even the mundane into the sordid. Kejriwal’s large scale photographic installation is one of the most honest testaments to this eastern dream of expansion and the rise of a technopolis on the site of the former city’s carcass, embroiling human folly.

Leena Kejriwal

Leena Kejriwal [b.1968] is a photographer and installation artist, based in Kolkata, India. Kejriwal is licentiate member of the British Institute of Professional Photography (LBIPP) and professional member of Photographers Guild of India (PGI). Kejriwal’s work was selected by the PGI, as the top 10 photographers in India. She was also selected as a brand ambassador of Fujifilm, India. She has worked with the Divya Chaya Trust, an organization committed to the upliftment of the female child. And worked with Apne Aap Worldwide, an NGO working against human trafficking, which resulted in the seminal photographic installation Spaces, no faces (2006). She was an Artists-in-Residence in France (2005), resulting in a solo exhibition, which traveled across the country from July 2006 to May 2007.
A range of published work include, magazines entries in Geo and Intersection (UK) amongst others. Rajiv Sethi’s Shiva in Mumbai published by the Asian Heritage Foundation; a photography documentation of six craft based cottage industries in villages around Kolkata, for In the shadows by Payal Mohanka (2006). Her seminal publication, Calcutta, repossessing the city was published by Om Books International in 2007. The Cake that walked by Bagchi Karkaria (2008). She has had several solo shows and participated in numerous group exhibitions. Her works were part of the Sotheby’s Southeast Asian Art Spring Auction in March 2009.
Her last exhibition East City: Kolkata Before the Campaign at the Birla Academy, Kolkata in Febuary 2010, was an ambitious project where she revisited her book on Kolkata, creating a large photographic installation based on the works in the book.

Shaheen Merali – Curator
Shaheen Merali [b. 1959] is a curator and writer, currently based in London, having recently returned from Berlin, where, from 2003-8, he was the Head of Exhibitions, Film and New Media at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, curating several exhibitions including The Black Atlantic; Dreams and Trauma, Moving images and the Promised Lands; and Re-Imagining Asia, One Thousand years of Separation. In 2006, he was invited to be the co-curator of the 6th Gwangju Biennale, Korea.
Selected exhibitions in 2009 include The Dark Science of Five Continents (BMB Gallery, Mumbai), The Promise of Loss (Kunsthalle Brot, Vienna and Arario Gallery, New York), Indian Popular culture (and beyond): The Untold (the rise of) Schisms, (Alcalá 31, Madrid), and in 2010 The 11th Hour, an exhibition of contemporary art from India/diaspora (Tang Contemporary, Beijing), The Stalking of absence (vis-àvis
Iran) (Tokyo Gallery+BTAP, Tokyo) and Tough Love, a series of promises (Plataforma Revólver, Lisbon). Merali has edited several publications, including Far Near Distance, Contemporary Positions for Iranian Artists (HKW, 2004); Spaces and Shadows, Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia and About Beauty (HKW, 2005); New York-States of Mind and Re-Imagining Asia (Saqi Books, 2007) and the seminal Everywhere is War (and rumours of war) (BodhiMumbai, 2008).

The Shrine Empire Gallery
The Shrine Empire Gallery was created from a merger of two galleries that occurred in December of 2008. Prior to the merger, both spaces worked together on exhibitions in India and Singapore as separate entities, known then as The Shrine Gallery and Empire Art. The Shrine Empire gallery is now based in New Delhi and its directors, Shefali Somani and Anahita Taneja, have a vision for the gallery as a platform for presenting and promoting contemporary visual art practices. Since its conception, The Shrine Empire has consistently worked towards providing and producing exhibitions of real quality and have worked with curators and artists, whose works are considered as contemporary dialogues with issues and aesthetics. The gallery currently represents the following artists; Fariba Alam, Gautam Kansara, Priyanka Dasgupta, Samanta Batra Mehta and Suchitra Gahlot.

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