Tara’s Great Hands
‘Tara Books’, a publisher based in Chennai of Southern India. This exhibition tells the story of Tara Books, who has been determinedly recreating their fellow countrymen’s traditional art forms in picture books. The people of India drew and continue to draw pictures with paints made from nature on the walls with hopes for good fortune. Their colored and stamped textiles are also used as offerings to the gods with prayers for happiness. Inspired by this, Tara Books has developed a unique art form that remains closely tied to an Indian way of life. The artists of Tara Books in turn have tried to reflect this worldview, and have created a ‘culture’ of expressing the minutiae of daily life through picture books and experimental processes.
Beginning in 1995, Tara Books challenged the boundaries of the picture book format, and their every attempt gave birth to a new special book. The exhibition follows the first ten years of Tara’s experimental footsteps in the Milestone Books section, which starts off by opening ten ‘wooden cases’ to study each artwork. In the Book Forms section, the exhibition looks into their challenges against picture book norms through unconventional forms such as scroll books, pop-up books, and circle books. The Reading Space and the Silkscreen Lab provide experiences where visitors can actually enjoy the beautiful artworks of Tara Books, and take part in the creative process of publishing a book by feeling the art with their own hands.
In exhibition 2, a wide variety of indigenous art work from different regions of India can be appreciated. The Gond Art and eight other forms of indigenous art are rooted in paying close attention to daily surroundings and nature, delivering familiarity along with originality. Familiar topics such as trees, the sun, the moon, or fish take different shapes and colors in indigenous Indian art. The balanced work of familiarity and originality communicates greater emotions to the audience by using the handcrafted silkscreen method. The Indian artists also captured the folktales passed down orally on long scrolls of paper. Artwork that flows from the ceiling to the floor is reflective of the natural flow of the voices, and gives us a better understanding of the world of Orality-print-Orality. The aesthetics of the work of Tara Books, completed affectionately page by page is simply astonishing. Moreover, how such small acts of ‘observation’ can be connected to an entire ‘culture’ through the efforts of artistic minds of Indian artists will touch the hearts of the visitors during their time within the exhibition.
‘Tara’ stands for ‘Star’ in the Indian language. The artworks that fill up the pages of the books will shine bright as a guiding star, shedding light on the road ahead for the artists in the future and beyond.
07/12/18 - 10/28/18