images from video saba hasan reads her poems, 2014 and mixed media work, memory1, 2018
” the Urdu text in my paintings is from letters my mother wrote to me so at one level its an artistic delving into personal history; Urdu is also a signifier of a loved culture under attack, a feeling I reinforce by burning my material or the script. Some passages are from feminist writings in Urdu literature, questioning patriarchy in south asian societies and demanding a reformulation. My poems are in a homeless language, a paradox of connections between places that I have lived in Russia, India, America, Switzerland, France and a mystifying preoccupation with songs, I have heard being called ghazals. From Tagore as much as from Pushkin, Ghalib or Lorca,
I have learnt to speak in a voice invoking many myths.”
“Persistence of Memory” curated by Katharina Kakar, 18 December – 18 January, 2018
The Project Cafe, Amalia Villa No. 198, Mazal Waddo, Assagao, Goa 403507 phone 0832 226 8577
indian contemporary and traditional art presented by red earth and alliance francaise
“yes to an extent my work is conceptual because the concept takes precedence over techniques or materials but i am acutely aware of the aesthetic elements of my work and it’s not as if the idea and it’s translation, no matter what medium i choose, are ever allowed by me to end up as a perfunctory affair…”
saba hasan, notes on conceptual art, new delhi, 2018
Material progress though relevant seems to have brought us to a point where we realize that prosperity fails unless shared and that the new order must take into account our interdependence as humans and with our natural environment.
“four haikus” comprises my video poems which want to draw attention to our closely entwined lives with nature. I shot the raw video footage during my visit to Japan, the beautiful land of haikus and zen philosophy.
As the core of Buddhist metaphysics, in haikus, the first imperative is its location in nature and then a reflection upon the transience of natural things. That rhythmic world of nature teaches us compassion, integrity and brings meaning into life. At the very core of my works lies the culture of zen, which is the video’s poetic and interpretive core.
Chromatic Resonance: The Space Between
For an artist strongly rooted in historical depiction and discovery through highly textured oeuvre incorporating organic and multifarious Materia (earth, sand, paper, salt, rock, ink, ash and nails), this body of work by Saba Hasan manifests an embrace of photography and video with an equally potent and variant aesthetic.
From a more monochromatic palette to such vibrant chromes, photography has brought her back to colour. Expressions of poetry, contemplation and thought have imbued the sites, sounds and loci surrounding her quotidian world and her travels. Throughout is a continuous vision, one of metaphoric peregrinations and metaphors of light and shadow. Beyond mere nuance, from her journey to Japan in 2012, her video Four Haikus evokes the spirit and timelessness of the renowned Japanese poets Matsuo Basho (d.1694), Yosa Busan (d.1783), and Kobayaschi Issa (d.1828).
How to explore a unique, yet shared vision explores depths and unexpected revelations which cross borders of time and space. As penned by William Shakespeare in The Winter’s Tale (First Folio, 1623), “The art itself is nature” (Act 4, Scene IV). Her creative quest embodies shifting paradigms and vistas, resulting in an embrace of imagination and reflection on facets of elements which often one has forgotten to note.