||The Whitechapel presents the first UK solo show of Amar Kanwar including the award-winning film A Season Outside.
The Whitechapel’s exhibition presents the acclaimed trilogy of films by Indian filmmaker Amar Kanwar that combine documentary, poetic travelogue and visual essay. Kanwar's narratives link traditional myths to contemporary events, and connect political process with cultural rituals and personal experience.
The first film in the trilogy, A Season Outside (1997) begins its exploration of violence from a thin white line on the India Pakistan border. Winner of awards at the Mumbai and San Francisco international film festivals, the opening scenes shows the synchronised military ceremonial that accompanies the closing of the border at the Wagah outpost each day at sun down, as each nation simultaneously lowers their flags. Scripted and narrated by Kanwar, the film continues as a personal journey which investigates philosophies of violence and non-violence, traversing past generations, conflicting positions and geographies.
The second film in the trilogy, To Remember (2003) is a silent film which is a homage to Gandhi. It was filmed at Birla House in New Delhi where he was assassinated in 1948, which has since become a museum dedicated to his memory. The film’s subject is Gandhi’s assasination and the massacres of Muslims that took place in 2002 in Ghandi’s home state of Gujarat.
Finally, A Night of Prophecy (2002) travels across India to capture the poetry and song of individuals in the historically troubled states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland and Kashmir. Their voices tell everyday tales from the inequalities of the caste system to their own personal desires. The overiding message is that in order to forsee the future there needs to be a collective understanding of the past and cycles of change.
The Whitechapel’s exhibition also features a recent video portrait from the ongoing series, The Torn First Pages (2004- present), highlighting the plight of opponents of the current military dictatorship in Burma. Thet Win Aung (2005) is a silent film commemorating the former student leader Aung, an advocate of democracy, who was imprisoned for 59 years for his political activities. This was the longest prison sentence given to any individual and Thet Win Aung was then killed in Mandalay prison in October 2006.
The Amar Kanwar film trilogy will be on show in the Whitechapel Auditorium and Torn First Pages will be shown in the entrance gallery.
Kanwar's films are deeply personal first-hand experiences of contemporary India that resonate widely as they examine the economies and psychology of sexuality, politics, philosophy and art.
Notes for Editors
• Amar Kanwar lives and works in New Delhi, India. He has exhibited internationally in a fine art context and through film festivals. He has been included in both Documenta XI (2002) and XII (2007), and has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Europe, America and India, and was presented at the Sydney Biennale in 2006. A Season Outside won The Golden Conch award at the 5th Mumbai International Documentary Film Festival, 1998, and The Golden Gate award at the 42nd San Francisco International Film Festival 1999.
• The Whitechapel’s exhibition includes the films: A Season Outside (English, 30 mins, 1997); A Night of Prophecy (Multiple languages [English subtitles], 77 mins, 2002); To Remember (Silent [With English text], 8 mins, 2003) Thet Win Aung (Silent, 3mins 40 secs, 2005).
• Amar Kanwar is organised by the Whitechapel and is a major part of the Mayor of London’s India Now season of art and events.
• The Whitechapel has entered the most exciting phase of its 100 year history: an ambitious expansion into the former library building adjacent to the Gallery. During the 18-month construction phase the Whitechapel has become the Whitechapel Laboratory with exhibitions, live music, poetry, talks and film via a new entrance at Angel Alley.
Talks & Events
Preview Opening, 8 August, 6.30 – 9pm. 6.30pm Screening of films; 7.30pm The artist in conversation; 8.30pm Drinks and buffet.
Via a new visitor entrance at Angel Alley during the 18-month construction phase of the Gallery’s expansion;
Open Weds – Sun 11am – 6pm. Thursdays until 9pm.
Limited access on between 7 – 8.30pm on certain Thursday
Whitechapel, Whitechapel High Street London E1. Nearest tube Aldgate East. www.whitechapel.org T +44 (0) 20 7522 7888
For further press information please contact:
Rachel Mapplebeck on + 44 (0)20 7522 7880, 07811 456 806 or email