In November 2022, Sarmaya and Ojas Art presented our first ever show in Delhi, Echoes of the Land – Art bears witness to a changing planet, the gallery in Mehrauli, Delhi.
The two-week exhibition showcased the works of 20 artists from the Sarmaya collection, who bear witness to our primordial-yet-precarious connection with the earth. Collapsing boundaries between traditional and contemporary art practices, the show presented the evolving perspectives of Indian art in the age of the Anthropocene.
We received a warm welcome to the Capital at the preview night of our show at 1AQ, a charming art centre designed around a sprawling old banyan tree. Sarmaya founder Paul Abraham led our guests on a comprehensive walkthrough of the exhibition, accompanied by the gracious Anubhav Nath, art entrepreneur and founder of Ojas. It was a joy to have some of our featured artists at the event, including Ram Singh Urveti, Manisha Gera Baswani, Sukhnandi Vyam, Gopa Trivedi and Mayank Shyam. Their response to the show was a heartening validation of our curatorial vision.
The 20 artists in our show belonged to different generations and represented a multitude of Indian art traditions. Contemporary or traditional, their art has a strong sense of place. Sometimes it’s rooted in the shade of a Mahua tree, sometimes in the green hills of Assam. The artworks in our show are animated by pride, nostalgia, devotion, idealism and yes, even rage, as they contemplate our evolving—and devolving—relationship with the planet.
Follow the links below to read more about the artists in Echoes of the Land - Art bears witness to a changing planet:
Ram Singh Urveti
Manisha Gera Baswani
Sadashiv Jivya Mashe
Chandan Bez Baruah
Dibin K Thilakan
Tushar and Mayur Vayeda
We organised events that explored the themes of the show during its run at the Ojas Art gallery in Mehrauli, Delhi. Our walkthroughs and other interactive sessions were curated give the audience a glimpse of the Indian artistic and cultural traditions that underscore the interconnectedness of all life on Earth.
Team Sarmaya led several walkthroughs during the show’s run to acquaint visitors with the curatorial vision of Echoes of the Land. While most were guided by the curators, we also had some led by Sarmaya founder Paul Abraham, including the preview night and a special walkthrough for Take On Art magazine with Bhavna Kakar.
We invited schools to bring students for art and nature workshops conducted at the Ojas Art gallery. These workshops encouraged children to observe the natural world around them, discuss the themes embedded in our show, and capture their own responses through art. They were guided by artist Richa Kedia, who taught them the art of nature journaling using simple watercolour techniques. We hosted students from Shri Ram school, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Salaam Baalak Trust.
MEET THE ARTIST
Mayur Vayeda, one of the artists in our show, performed part of a Warli harvest ritual 'Khala' on site at Ojas Art. Khala is traditionally performed by the Warli community after the harvest is collected; it is a form of thanksgiving to Goddess Kansari, the custodian of seeds. Mayur created a grain installation inspired by this ritual at the gallery. At the event, he spoke about the spiritual practice of the Warlis, which is tied to the seasons and rhythms of their agrarian life.
‘Invisible Web - Connecting India's art, food and natural histories’ was a panel discussion that sought to unpack the ways in which the environment shapes our culture. It brought together the perspectives of historian Rana Safvi, environmental activist Bittu Sahgal and art collector and Sarmaya founder Paul Abraham. The panel was moderated by artist and environmental campaigner Ravi Agarwal.
We hosted a screening of award-winning wildlife documentary, Gyamo, Queen Of The Mountains, that took us into the frozen kingdom of the snow leopard. Famous masters of camouflage, these big cats are now in danger of disappearing altogether. After the film screening, the audience got to interact with filmmakers Doel Trivedy and Gautam Pandey of Riverbank Studios. They shared their experiences of tracking this incredible species and its endangered habitat.