Sometimes art is admired for its beauty, and other times because it sends a message and makes us think. The new exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art, "Edge of Desire" and "Fatal Love," which opened last month, make people think. These two thought-provoking exhibitions will be on view until June 5.David Strauss, director of public relations and marketing at the Queens Museum of Art, was pleased with the turnout of more than 2,300 visitors on opening day."Edge of Desire" includes 80 artworks on loan from India. The exhibition represents a period of transformation in Indian culture. The artists collectively try to intrigue people by illustrating issues that affect modern-day Indians, such as religious fundamentalism, political conflict and the role of modern Indian women."Blame" by Shilpa Gupta sends a strong message about political tension and religious persecution in India. There is a monitor that plays a DVD and has earphones. Gupta created "Blame" in response to the political conflict in Kargil between Indian and Pakistan, and the violence against Muslims in Gujarat. The artist conducted the "Blame" project in the streets of Mumbai and in Perth, Australia. In the DVD, Gupta rides a train in Mumbai carrying bottles of "Blame," which contain a red liquid (presumably blood).She addresses the issue of people being blamed for what they cannot control, namely their religion and their nationality. To the left of the monitor there are shelves that contain the bottles of "Blame." There is a message written on each bottle: "Blaming you makes me feel so good. So I blame you for what you cannot control: Your religion, your nationality. I want to blame you. It makes me feel so good." The bottles of "Blame" may represent the persecution of innocent people and bloodshed.The works of Rummana Hussain are also thought provoking. Hussain, who died in 1999, tried to convey her interpretation of what it meant to be a female, Muslim artist. In "Home Nation" Hussain created a multi-part installation including wooden planks, photographs, folders and jars. During the 1990s violence due to religious fundamentalism was prevalent. There is an installation of black and white and color photographs. The photographs depict scenes from a woman's life, including making bread, working (possibly making carpets), and the partial view of a screaming woman's face. The screaming woman's face may be symbolic of the indignation that women may feel as a result of being persecuted due to religious fundamentalism. The photographs of an edifice, possibly a mosque, convey her sense of religious affiliation. Also, the jars contain objects that the average woman uses, such as thread, lipstick and Band-Aids. Perhaps Hussain sought to assert her female identity in a male-dominated society."Fatal Love," the South Asian-American portion of the exhibition, is equally thought provoking. Sept. 11, 2001 changed our lives forever. New Yorkers have been particularly affected by the World Trade Center attacks. Since Sept. 11, 2001, South Asian Americans have suffered due to negative media attention. The South Asian American artists collectively try to disprove the unfavorable view by which they are portrayed in the mass media."Ryot" by Bari Kumar makes an extremely powerful statement about the plight of the Indian farmers. Kumar created a poster of decapitated peasant, clad in a loincloth. His hands have been cut off, and the blood drips from the remaining portion of his forearms. His blood spills onto a platter. The disfigured peasant may by symbolic of the farmers who have been cut off from their livelihood. The artwork illustrates the disastrous effect which global capitalization has had on Indian farmers. Also, the image of a bleeding man clad in a loincloth alludes to Christ and the notion of persecution.Asma Ahmed Shikoh addresses the issue of immigration and assimilation into American life in the work "Van Wyck Boulevard." The artist comes from Karachi, Pakistan. The artwork depicts the Metropolitan Transit Authority subway map with Urdu script. Learning how to interpret a subway map and travel in New York must be challenging for an immigrant. Shikoh possibly selected the map to represent the immigrants' need to learn a new way of life and the need to travel to new destinations.The usage of Urdu script may indicate that she must assimilate into American life within the context of her ethnic Pakistani background."Edge of Desire" and "Fatal Love" will impress you and make you think. You may walk away not only wanting to return to the Queens Museum of Art, but book a flight to India as well.
©2005 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.