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Year-long research on living traditions put on canvas

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) A year-long journey that artist Astha Butail undertook in researching living traditions that are passed on to generations through teaching and oral poetry, has culminated in the form of an ongoing exhibition here titled “In the Absence of Writing”.

The exhibition, commissioned by The Gujral Foundation, is focussed on the Indian Vedic traditions, Zoroastrian Avesta, and Jewish Oral Torah, including their respective linguistic families Sanskrit, Avestan, and Hebrew.

Butail travelled to Varanasi, several towns in South India, Yazd (Iran), Jerusalem (Israel), and London, where she observed and recorded different memory techniques, as well as interviewed scholars, students and practitioners of each tradition. She also received BMW’s Art Journey award for this research in 2017-2018.

The exhibition is ongoing at 24 Jor Bagh till February 28.

“Unlike a gallery or a museum, 24 Jor Bagh is an unconventional space that provides an artist with the platform to create experimental and site-specific projects that respond to the spaces within the house as well as its architecture. At the same time, it creates an unusual environment for viewers to experience art,” said Reha Sodhi, Curator of the exhibition.

“In the Absence of Writing”, according to The Gujral Foundation, is a suite of works whose titles are fragments of hymns from the Rig Veda.

Butail uses a range of media to offer glimpses into the architecture of collective memory using video, sound, sculpture and interactive installations – to respond to the notions of space and time, values and culture, history and identity.



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