SAI is pleased to announce the selection of our Visiting Artists for the spring semester. Each artist will spend a week at Harvard to visit courses, interact with students, give a seminar, and display their artwork on campus.
Mohanty will engage with his project Act the Victim, based on a simple invitation to ‘act’ as victim, consciously positioning people in the discomforts of victimhood and open associations with crisis. It proposes to build a common ground, where strangers meet, negotiate and arrive. Act the Victim is an apparatus, a play, which at any given moment responds to the immediate. The process makes visible the sets of heterogeneous forces/structures (institutions, police, philosophical propositions, art and culture, behavior, the social, political and so on) that intersect uniquely and surface via an individual, a group or community. The project proposes to build an autonomous and complex system of catharsis, anger, frustration, guilt, confession, laughter and surrender around itself. It explores multiple associations of the self with crisis, its layering and representation, across a variety of sites and in our daily life.
Act the Victim is a provocation to push and allow slippages in the medium of performance into real life. So far, it has taken the form of public auditions and unorganized conversations, panning out to seek a range of creative gestures, acts, stories, readings, and subtle alterations in each rehearsal repetition in the process of auditioning and documentation. The project started in 2012 when Mohanty was showing his work in Tokyo, Japan.
Mohanty is based in New Delhi, and holds an M.A. from the National Museum Institute and a B.F.A. from Dhauli College of Art & Craft. He works in multiple mediums of video, performance, painting and sculpture.
Rai’s White Butterfly project was a personal art installation that has grown with a global outreach for different community causes and concerns. It is a demonstration of how the role of art can take different turns when shared across social media, connecting people and communities to effect social change and awareness. From Scotland to Greece to New York to Africa over the past two years, many connections around the world have been established.
Those connections became an unexpected source of support and real change in rapid response to the earthquake disasters in Nepal this year, initiating funding projects for immediate relief to provide sanitation facilities, toilets rebuilding a school and relocating an entire village. For this project, Rai plans dialogue with community, engagement digitally via social media and interaction. Rai will introduce The White Butterfly project to the faculty and students at Harvard in the form of a retrospective photographic exhibition, including an interactive presentation. His practice, based in Kathmandu also includes paintings, performance art, and installations.
SAI’s Arts Program serves as a resource across all disciplines to explore critical issues of South Asia through the lens of art and design.