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Birender Yadav
Life Tools, 2021

CONSTITUTIONS

Birender Yadav, Rajyashri Goody, Sajan Mani, Prajakta Potnis, and Sohrab Hura

Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal 
 

The exhibition Constitutions considers escape routes and ensnarements of the body within the state—a condition amplified by the pandemic. Over the last year and a half, we collectively witnessed the flow of bodies leaving cities for villages in various parts of India; we saw people helplessly watch their loved ones gasping for air amid oxygen tank shortages; and just prior to being instructed by the state to socially distance, we saw protests for the right to citizenship, the right to be recognized. Constitutions attempts to address this trapping but also offers proposals for ways out of these absurd labyrinths.

Artists Rajyashri Goody, Sohrab Hura, Sajan Mani, Prajakta Potnis and Birender Yadav are of a similar generation from India, and each address and complicate the oppressive social hierarchy of caste discrimination, politics of labour, and the post-truth state. In their works, there are threads of poetry and literature, a sensation of disembodiment, the transition of body to tool, and the representation of what the body retains, absorbs, and discards.

In 2022, India will celebrate 75 years of decolonization. In the process of writing the Constitution of India between 1949 and 1950, committee chairman Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, included the abolition of Untouchables. Article 17 outlawed discrimination against Dalits, Bahujans and Adivasis who are kept at the bottom rung of society and the economy, and are often landless, displaced by governmental projects like dams or deforestation. Today, the tenets that were part of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, and Ambedkar’s vision for a secular India, devoted to equality, justice, and democracy are delicately tethered to utopian ideals, and are being gnawed at by the rise of Hindutva maintaining caste apartheid and spreading religious discrimination.

conversations:

November 12, 2021

Prajakta Potnis and Sohrab Hura

http://ellengallery.concordia.ca/audio-video/audio-video-2021/?lang=en

January 10th, 2022

Rajyashri Goody, Sajan Mani, and Birender Yadav

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MmLSxUTt4

 

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Rajyashri Goody

What Is The Caste Of Water, 2017

Photo: Paul Litherland

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"Education is the milk of the tigress. Once you have drunk it, you cannot but roar." - Dr. BR Ambedkar

Rajyashri Goody

The Milk Of The Tigress, 2021

Selection of books on caste and Dalit writing from Webster Library, plywood shelves covered with paper pulp made from the Manusmriti. 

Photo:Paul Litherland

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Rajyashri Goody

The Milk Of The Tigress, 2021

Selection of books on caste and Dalit writing from Webster Library, plywood shelves covered with paper pulp made from the Manusmriti. 

Photo:Paul Litherland

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Prajakta Potnis 

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Prajakta Potnis, Attrition, 2020, RIN detergent bar, infusion fluid, tubing, and needle. 

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Prajakta Potnis, He woke up with seeds in his lungs, 2020

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Sohrab Hura, Scramble, 2020

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Sohrab Hura, The Lost Head & The Bird, 2016-2019

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Sajan Mani, When the Hands Start Singing, 2021

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Birender Yadav, Life Tools, 2021

Photo: Paul Litherland

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Installation view of the exhibition Constitutions at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery. Courtesy of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal, 2021. Photo: Paul Litherland