An unprecedented commission, India Art Fair and BMW India created the ‘The Future is Born of Art Commission’ with the aim of championing emerging Indian artists, propelling them onto the world stage, and further support BMW’s commitment to promoting Indian art, sustainability and innovation.
The car wrap will be used on BMW’s first fully electric and connected vehicle in India, to be shown at India Art Fair 2022, complete with the winning design. The design itself will reflect on the philosophy behind the electric car of ‘Sustainable Circularity’ — a vision of a world with responsible and efficient use of resources and minimal waste.
Shortlisted by a jury of the biggest names in Indian art — Bose Krishnamachari, Founding President of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, Sonal Singh, Managing Director of Christie’s India, Alex Kuruvilla, Managing Director of Condé Nast India, and Jaya Asokan, Fair Director at India Art Fair — selected artists were asked to create proposals that respond to the theme, grounded it in the artist’s own practice and interpretative frameworks.
After a long selection process, we are delighted to share the four shortlisted artists for the Commission: Faiza Hasan, Farah Mulla, Latheesh Lakshman and Visakh Menon. The artists, ranging from watercolourists to designers and sound artists, represent a wide breadth of perspectives that shows off emerging Indian art in all its diversity. The winner will be decided on the basis on jury judging as well as a public vote on India Art Fair’s social channels.
1. Faiza Hasan
A watercolour artist with an interest in using feminised mediums such as textiles to speak against misogyny, Faiza Hasan expands the idea of sustainability with that of community. “My work alludes to the relationship between social justice and environmental sustainability, as well as our collective power to bring about a critical change,” she explains. In addition to the various faces of her community, the wrap will prominently feature the word “suno” meaning listen in Urdu typography — a literal urge to listen to the “needs of our environment and our communities in bringing about this change.” In addition, the car will also feature the words: “tasawur” meaning ‘to imagine’, “umeed” meaning hope, and “nigehbaan” meaning ‘to safeguard’, evoking the other facets of how the artist looks towards the future.
2. Farah Mulla
Geologist by training, Farah Mulla is interested in how space and sound create each other and affect human interaction. Her vision for the BMW car wrap incorporates the idea of interactive art, playing with the notion of a car as an extension of the human body. In the proposed design, the car wrap will act as a giant mirror, so that the presence of any people around the car will change the nature of the design— the car’s shape “providing distorted reflections with different curves and viewing angles.”
3. Latheesh Lakshman
“I don’t drive, nor have I owned a car in my life,” admits Latheesh Lakshman, the third shortlisted artist for the Commission. With this outsider’s perspective, the artist, also the Creative Director of a branding agency, intends to focus on the importance of electric cars for the future. Playing on the theme of regeneration, the artist details, “illustrations of plant seeds, animal embryos and umbilical cords will wrap around the car, illustrated in a style which links it to genesis and sustainability.”
4. Visakh Menon
Visakh Menon, an artist interested in human-machine interactions, technology and glitch aesthetics, brings forward the “unseen role of electronics and data in creating a sustainable electric car” in his proposed car-wrap. Toggling between traditional mediums of drawings and paintings and code-based works, the artist will digitally “remix” prior artworks to create something new for the car — a unique interpretation of ‘sustainable circularity’.
The Future is Born of Art Commission is presented by BMW India and India Art Fair. The winning artist will be selected on the basis of public polling and selection by the jury, and the car will be unveiled at India Art Fair 2022.