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Body Building, as the play on words suggests, explores South Asian identities and perspectives in the context of architecture and the built environment. Significant bodies of lens-based work from sixteen visual practitioners come together in this exhibition, reflecting on urban experience across cities in the region. The march of urbanization and property development is reconsidered alongside the aspirations and challenges that accompany these economic transformations.

The exhibition begins on the streets and shores of South Asia, and enter homes and private celebrations through family photos and photo-diaries. Artists witness change, document socioeconomic shifts and capture new or iconic architectures as they appear, or threaten to disappear. Mobile phone videos allow us to enter private realms and experience life in interstitial spaces. Images are manipulated, not just digitally but through collage to create new meaning and even new architectures. Works include architectural, landscape and studio photography, archival images and representational forms such as portraiture and street photography. Presenting a range of practices from the late 1960s onwards, the exhibition also links past and present, revisiting modern aspirations and ideas of urban living born in modern New Delhi and cosmopolitan Bombay, Colombo or Karachi. Works have also been selected because they resonate in the Gulf, as our cities continue to influence each other today, increasingly seeking to build a new Dubai.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Abdul Halik Azeez, Pablo Bartholomew, CAMP, Arthur Crestani, Madan Mahatta, Umber Majeed, Zahra Malkani and Shahana Rajani, Ram Rahman, Randhir Singh, and Vasantha Yogananthan. These are accompanied by works from the Prabhakar collection by the artists Rajyashri Goody, C.K. Rajan, Gigi Scaria, Dayanita Singh and Vivek Vilasini. The exhibition also includes vintage films by the experimental director Pramod Pati. The exhibition is curated by Nada Raza.

Temporary Spaces: Exchanges in Art, Architecture and Photography in the UAE, South Asia and Beyond, a symposium organised by Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational and Alserkal Arts Foundation in collaboration with Ishara Art Foundation will take place on Friday, November 1, 2019 at the Alserkal Residency Project Space.

The exhibition programme further includes artist’s talks by Rajyashri Goody, Zahra Malkani & Shahana Rajani and Dayanita Singh. Please follow our Facebook page for event details.

Launched in March 2019 in Dubai, Ishara Art Foundation is the first independent, non-profit institution dedicated to contemporary South Asian art and artists in West Asia. The foundation wishes to thank the Films Division of India, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Sharjah Art Foundation for making this exhibition possible.

Ishara Art Foundation

17th Street

A3, Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, UAE


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