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As the moon splits: Waheeda Ahmed

August 25-September 25, 2023

Exhibit 320, F- 320, Lado Sarai, New Delhi, Delhi, India

Exhibit320 presents the first solo exhibition of artist Wahida Ahmed in Delhi. Developed over the course of four years and curated by Adwait Singh, this new body of work uses jacquard as a trope to examine the socio-political fabric of Assam. Her enquiry is twofold. With one hand, the artist musters the little dots punched out during the weaving process into a morse code of sorts, signalling expulsions through which the regional identity is reproduced. While the other hand actively picks apart the myth of Assamese cultural homogeneity one syncretic thread at a time. Through unique allusions and anecdotes, evidence is offered of the oppressive torque of Islamic and Assamese heterodoxy that the artist appears to be caught between.

The precarity engendered by the complex interaction of warring identities, capitalist encroachments, vote-bank politics, and the caprices of the Brahmaputra echoes in the composite and layered aspects of the works.

Apart from paintings and installations, the exhibition features two videos: an immersive film capturing interfaith spaces created during/through the zikirs (devotional songs); and a harrowing first-person account of Momiron Nessa that highlights the susceptibility of river-dwelling women to legal and bureaucratic mandates. Additionally, recordings of poems penned by the artist punctuate the exhibition’s visual stream, tuning the ear to the sibilant inflexions of Assamese, the dissonance between its dialects, and the linguistic politics at large. Their sonic interface opens a space for reflection not unlike the humming whorls created by zikirs and borgeets.

Find out more about the show here.