Red Earth - Vanishing Ice Installation
Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York
April 17 - May 10, 2008
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Red Earth - Vanishing Ice
Jyoti Duwadi weaves together diverse elements to create a multi-layered, poetic space where nature and culture seamlessly merge. He transforms raw materials from the environment and functional objects used daily in Nepal into re-conceptualized works of art. Melding his creativity with the fine craftsmanship of Nepali weavers and artisans, the artist’s organic compositions accentuate the beauty of the original object.
One of the main components of this installation was inspired by the gallery's criss-crossing sprinkler system. A block of ice, suspended from a water pipe, slowly melts on a rock from the Narmada River nestled within a sculptural assemblage of handmade vessels containing water from Kathmandu and New York. Together with the flame of an oil lamp, Jyoti interprets contrasting states of matter - hot and cold, solid and liquid, light and shadow.
In the long, draping painting, a convergence of symbols expresses the dynamic energy of creativity. The artist presents a real-time interpretation of this concept through a mound of red earth planted with barley seeds in various stages of germination.
This work reflects an array of ideas from the association of water with life and purification to its scarcity as a natural resource. It abstractly references the flow of the Hudson River, one block from the gallery, as well as the glacial meltdown in the Himalayas and around the world caused by global warming.
In the sculptures, paintings and drawings on hand-made Nepali paper, Jyoti incorporates natural materials known for their healing properties: the velvety black of Guggul, popular in Ayurvedic medicine, yellow turmeric powder, and multi-colored earth pigments, gathered, prepared, and mixed with gum Arabic. He also exploits the aromatic properties of beeswax to invite immersion into the sensory experiences of touch and smell while reflecting on the ecological crisis of disappearing honey bee colonies.
Sounds of Color, which includes a palm frond sculpture, powdered pigments, singing bowls, and yak bell, introduces sound and performance into the installation. Visitors are invited to compose soothing tones by ringing the bowls with a mallet. This corner of the gallery – with its bright colors and minimal, ethereal composition contrasts with the strength and subdued hues of the other site-specific component in Red Earth-Vanishing Ice. Together they become metaphors for the delicate balance between nature and culture.