A romantic vision of an Indian woman becomes quite a turn on in this short piece.
Monitor is SAVAC’s annual screening of short works by South Asian artists that showcase new directions in film and video. The shorts in this collection represent different artistic approaches that offer exciting new ways of looking at the world; what once seemed familiar and known become mysterious and opaque through the lens of these artists. They abandon clichéd images, stories and linear structures to present intimate, witty and complex notions of identity and culture. These are bold expressions that step out of conventional forms to reflect the varied approaches being used today by film and video-makers around the world.
Some of the works in this program present reflections of the artists’ pasts, families and histories through their intimate process of looking back. After the death of her father and sister, Nurjahan Akhlaq, takes us on a journey back to Lahore in Death in the Garden of Paradise, where tragedy has made her home a foreign and mysterious place. Loss of a loved one is further explored in Pamila Matharu’s fracture. She combines Super-8 home movies, texts and music to weave memory and loss in a moving visual poem. In Threading the Needle, Andaleeb Firdosy creates an intimate and loving portrait of a grandmother passing down a story from her past to the next generation.
THIS or THAT? Or NEITHER?, a film by Kriti Arora, creates a strong visual rhythm by interweaving old black and white footage of a train with a woman waving a large, white sheet; a quiet homage to her great grandfather, a cloth merchant, who would ritualistically display fabrics daily, and to her family who were forced to leave their home in Pakistan during the partition in 1947.
Jaishri Abichandani refers to classic texts and images of Indian women to create the playful and challenging shorts, Happily Never After and Wound Up. Abichandani juxtaposes images and sounds that turn exotic and religious references of women on their heads. Kshya Tra Ghya by Amit Dutta weaves together short tales seeped with Indian mythology that accumulate into a young boy’s experience. A journey to school in this strange, peculiar world is full of wonder, mystery and beauty. In Darshana Vora’s 16mm journey the surface of the film becomes a canvas for a collage of luminous whims. She continues to explore light, motion and space with video in solid objects where hands cutting paper reflect prisms of light and colour.
These artists found appropriate forms to explore and express new ideas and interpretations, and they reflect the diverse styles, voices and approaches to technology being utilized by independent South Asian artists in Canada and around the world.
– Jane Kim