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Under the Banyan Tree

26 November 2010 – 27 February 2011
Essl Museum, Austria

Living in India

The photographer Ayesha Kapur is one of 34 Indian artists who will present contemporary photos, paintings, sculptures, and installations under the title 'India Awakens', curated by Alka Pande from the India Habitat Center in New Delhi, between 26 November 2010 and 27 February 2011 at the Essl Museum in Austria.

Ayesha Kapur is a documentary photographer whose work about the Tibetan community, especially the young people in the exile at Dharamshala (India), is the first result you will find when searching for more information online.

At the Essl Museum, Ayesha Kapur provides with her black/white series 'Bollywood Tinsle Town' a view at the backstage of Bollywood and the life of young people in the Indian film industry.

fig.: 'Ameira fashion stylist with Raima Sen actress, workshop, Mumbai from the series 'Bollywood Tinsle Town', 2009' (Ed. 1/7) by Ayesha Kapur. Digital print on Hanemühle Archiv Papier 136 x 92 cm. Photo: (C) Ayesha Kapur.

For the subtitle, the Essl Museum has chosen a reference to the National tree of India, the 'banyan'. It is said that Buddha was enlightened when sitting under a banyan tree.

"The banyan tree in the title symbolises “the miracle that is India”. Marked by a prolific and tightly interwoven aerial root-system, the tree is said to have the miraculous power to grant wishes. Legend has it that Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment while sitting under a banyan tree in the city of Bodhgaya. Nowadays, the shade-giving tree is a popular place of encounter or recreation for the Indian population," explains the Sammlung Essl on its website the subtitle of the exhibition.

Several artists will present works on gender themes like Baptist Coelho, whose installation relates to the etiquette-book 'How to be a Lady' and the mythological Hindu-stories by Draupardi. He shows parallels of the old mythology and contemporary women.

By searching for more information about Coelho, the following video impressed with women trying to put on red leather shoes and speaking about their life: 'How to be your self' (Chapter 01 - I Experience Real Life, 2008) by Baptist Coelho.

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