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February 08, 2018

What Shilpa Gupta’s ‘We Change Each Other’ Stands For

Text by Huzan Tata

This month, when you take a walk along Mumbai’s waterfront, you will spot We Change Each Other, Shilpa Gupta’s animated installation at Carter Road

Strolling along the Bandra promenade, you’re bound to spot this artwork that’s on everyone’s radar right now. We Change Each Other, artist Shilpa Gupta’s new light installation, is a thought-provoking creation that delves on questions of unity and amalgamation of cultures. About her latest showcase, Gupta says, “It signifies the inevitable mutation and dispersion that follows when two beings or cultures come into contact with each other. In an increasingly polarising world, this work explores the flux within interpersonal spaces, be it between two people, intergenerational, or those shaped by religious, political or gender divides.” Written in Hindi, Urdu, and English — with the words in each language lighting up at different moments — the work is a tribute to the melting pot of cultures that is Mumbai.

We Change Each Other is on display at Carter Road in Mumbai until February 18, 2018.

Shilpa Speak

On The Location “The promenade runs along the Arabian Sea, which is closely linked to the history of the making of this metropolis. Water is a symbol of movement and such great vastness that it dwarfs all turmoils.”

On Mumbai As A Muse “This is a migrant city bustling with people and almost everyone is from elsewhere. The several churches, temples and mosques speak of the vibrant cultural mix of communities and many stories this place holds.”

On Public Art “Things have been slowly changing, and today there is a greater understanding of art in public spaces. It is received with greater enthusiasm. Private galleries are tucked into corners and mainstream state institutions are not very active. So, one has to initiate public projects on their own, wading through a lot of paperwork and overcoming challenges of getting permissions.”

What’s Next “There is a solo show coming up at Museum Voorlinden in the Netherlands in February, where they are showing works from their collection along with other pieces, including an outdoor light work. In June, a travelling solo, Drawing In The Dark, currently running at a synagogue in France, will open at the Parasol unit in London. And I am also working towards a new body of work which will open at Yarat Contemporary Art Space in Baku in July.”

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