Indian artist brings the world to Taranaki
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:55p.m.
By Laura Frykberg
Indian-born artist NS Harsha’s work is all about the affect globalisation has on culture, and human labour and rights.
And in his latest work - which has come to New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Gallery - he's exploring the threads which links us all together.
Installing ‘Nations’ was a laborious task, but a bit of hard work is fitting when the exhibition itself addresses issues like slave labour.
Gallery directo Rhana Devenport says it deals with the problems of globalisation.
“The images are full of mistakes, full of little anomalies, and just like if one is looking at the idea of nationhood and globalisation, it's full of anomalies and problematics.”
The work features 192 hand-painted United Nations' countries' flags attached to the same number of treadle sewing machines.
The idea came to Harsha in an unusual way.
“One of my assistants she has a sewing machine she kept at my house, so after the bath I threw the towel over the top of this sewing machine, and after dressing up I went back and saw this striped towel on my sewing machine and I thought it looked like a flag,” he says.
Harsha says he purposely painted the flags incorrectly after finding a children's book which did the same thing and got readers to correct them. He says it's his way of showing his feelings about the UN.
“The United Nations scared me and the children's book enlightened me, it's as simple as that.”
It's the work's first showing in the southern hemisphere, and wouldn't have happened without the donation of sewing machines from New Plymouth locals.
“They're all going to be given back! These are just on loan, this whole project is on loan from the Taranaki community,” says Ms Devenport.
But not till after the exhibition is all sewn up in November.
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