Selected Happening 1 - Lahore in Venice in... by murtaza-ali5
It is said that Art transcends cultural boundaries and Rashid Rana has proved it with his latest project, ‘My East is Your West.’ Aimed at breaking physical barriers of time and space between the people of Lahore and Venice, the project has been set up at Venice Biennale and Liberty Market, Lahore. The artwork in Venice features a room with a video projection of a live feed from a mirrored space in Liberty Market. Audiences in Venice are able to see and interact with the people in Lahore and vice versa. This way, the project provides a two-way window between Venice, Italy and Lahore, Pakistan.
‘My East is Your West’ is a joint project by Rashid Rana and Mumbai-based Shilpa Gupta, undertaken by the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) in collaboration with Gujral Foundation. The project has been brought to the public in Pakistan with the support of HBL.
The beauty of this project is that the audiences in both spaces become as much a part of the artwork as they are spectators to it. In doing this, the work questions the ‘otherness’ and challenges East/West separation by tentatively fusing the ‘here’ and ‘elsewhere.’
Another highlight is that Rashid Rana and Shilpa Gupta are sharing a joint pavilion at the Venice Biennale to promote art collaboration between India and Pakistan. As reported by Express Tribune, the idea for a regional pavilion came like an epiphany two years ago when Rashid Rana met Feroze Gujral, art-enthusiast and owner of the Gujral Foundation. “I met Gujral at the last Venice Biennale in 2013 and we both sulked over how neither India nor Pakistan had a pavilion,” Rashid Rana said. “I was also aware that art transcends such categorisation, so we wondered how to make sure that creative practitioners from Pakistan and India are represented at the Venice Biennale without drawing a line around their works,” he added. It is to be noted here that Feroze Gujral visited BNU in February this year to further discuss the project with Rashid Rana.
In another interview, with Art Now Pakistan, Rashid Rana said, “I must say that I am very lucky that despite living in a world with hard political boundaries, I have been welcomed on both sides of the border. Living in Lahore, a solo show in India in 2004 became my launchpad and a gallery in Bombay still represents me. Being an educator, I teach students from all over South Asia at BNU. I hope that in the distant, if not near future, the subcontinent becomes a space akin to the European Union, where individuals and ideas are allowed to move freely. Art of course is already hinting at the possibility of it.”
‘My East is Your West’ will stay open till October 2015. We like to congratulate Rashid Rana for bringing the first large-scale public project of its kind in Pakistan.
Rashid Rana's Interview with Art Now