“There is something tremendous about the blue sky”
In her art practice, Aban Raza is concerned with the atmospherics of power within the postcolony, that is the black cloud of symbolic and other violence that accompanies the curtailment of freedom, the active repression of rights, and the dehumanisation of the lower castes, classes and minorities in the current era. In the exhibition There is something tremendous about the blue sky, she offers a constellation of moments — some of more visible acute distress than others—where her uses of colour, elongated human figures and the symbolic landscapes they inhabit are only a beginning rather than an end.
In the exhibition there are fundamental questions about the life of ‘the large minorities’ (think of the populations of Muslims and Scheduled Castes in India for example) and other ‘working majorities’ such as farmers in the country, and the right to protest and exist. What happens to the human condition in these fraught circumstances? What happens across the gender spectrum? What happens to those spaces of socio-economic, political and cultural life, that is the rural and the urban, always in an osmotic relation but often standing firmly as ontologically different in our imagination? Her paintings invite onlookers to pay attention to those who have participated not only in political action but in the transformation of the political itself. Her subjects are mainly drawn from the labouring classes but they are not just seen labouring in agricultural fields but in other ones too. They protest to claim their citizen rights and are part of a long and multi-vocal set of protest tradition(s) in India.
Excerpt from an essay for the exhibition by Manuela Ciotti