Peace and harmony achieved through the medium of art? Think about it. What may seem like an impossible task to non-believers is now a reality in our own backyard through the Destination Asia – Flying Over Stereotypes exhibition at the Elementa Gallery.
The project is a joint collaboration between art practitioners from India, Pakistan and Central Asia, with some of the continent's most creative minds coming together to overcome xenophobic misconceptions. Over the next few weeks ideas will be exchanged, impressions examined and a gradual shattering of commonplace myths will be on the agenda.
What once began as a sliver of an idea to introduce contemporary art practices of three regions to one another has now grown into a three-year project that involves artist residencies, seminars, exhibitions and publications. A total of 30 artists were hand picked to participate in Destination Asia, with their combined works split over a two-part exhibition. Flying Over Stereotypes is the first half, with the second being held later this year.
The current exhibition features art works from India's leading artists, including Pushpamala N, Vibha Galhotra and Shakuntala Kulkarni, among others. Pakistan is represented through Adnan Madani, Nadia Shaukat and more. Almagul Menlibayeva and Yerbossyn Meldibekov are two of the leading names from Central Asia.
Salima Hashmi, a prominent artist from Pakistan who is also part of the project, says: "I am sometimes amazed that we [as a region] – that has so much in common in terms of shared histories, music, languages, and so much else – are so distanced from one another.
"The Silk Route connected so many peoples and cultures centuries ago, but recent events have made us so remote." With this break of "intellectual connections", the artists are now hoping to help bring about an understanding through the similarities of cultures and the democratisation of the cultural space.
DESTINATION ASIA FLYING OVER STEREOTYPES: Elementa Gallery until May 12. Call 04 299 0064.