THE SWEET SHOP OWNERS OF CALCUTTA and other ideas
The exhibition is arranged in three parts. Each constitutes an encounter. The first has to do with the portraits of sweet shop owners which you may or may not notice whenever you walk into a mishtir dokan, a sweet shop, in Calcutta. To confront them is to face their mystery, for the owners possess the same air that the ‘great men’ of 19th-century Bengal did. This bit of the exhibition attempts to look at the human figure in its unexpectedness while allowing oneself to be transformed implicitly by its everyday context. The second part, ‘Unusable Gifts’, comprises a particular genre: the sort of gifts we have all received at some point or the other that we have no use for. What should we do with them? The third part of the exhibition, ‘Indian Road Signs’, presents the viewer with road signs we are familiar with, except that these express directives and messages that liberate them from their usual function. The various elements of the exhibition are intended to add up to a cosmology or version of the world.