India presents a new idea of Gandhi at Venice Biennale

Updated: few hours ago

In isolation, these objects may or may not hold relevance but when art curator Roobina Karode placed them one beside the other, not necessarily in the said order, in an old Venetian building, they seem to narrate a tale — the story of Mahatma Gandhi in a way never told before.  

As the India Pavilion, celebrating 150 years of Gandhi under the overarching theme of "Our Times for a Future Caring" at the Venice Biennale, opened for preview on Wednesday, the country welcomed a global audience into the idea that is Gandhi.

But this is a Gandhi far removed from the images --  spectacles, charkha (spinning wheel) and staff -- that the father of the nation is traditionally associated with.  

"The exhibition eludes a literal translation of Gandhi. Rather, the subtle evocation of the man in terms of the conceptual abstraction of his propositions and persistent provocations to re-think our complex world, with his high expectations of art as truth and transformative experience, makes for a compelling visual statement in this day and age," Karode said.  

In "Broken Branches" by Atul Dodiya, one sees nine wooden cabinets containing hand coloured framed photographs, used artificial limbs, tools, found objects, billboard paintings and more.  ..