Friday, 30 November 2012

Subodh Kerkar: ‘Pepper Cross’ Berlin Germany 2012-2013 As reviewed by Pankaja JK.


Vast sky, Stretched water…

Making the canvas of my vision brighter and broader




 Copyright ©Prasad Pankar Photographer
Subodh Kerkar’s ‘Pepper Cross’ exhibition at Berlin was a perfect representative of historical reference to amalgamation of cultures and he traces the very roots of its cause- The life giver and speechless communicator- ‘Water’- stretched Seas and vast Oceans which were and will always be instrumental in changing the face of world. . He visualizes the ingression of alien culture into a particular land and how the people get influenced by it. For him ‘Goa’ an Indian state stands as the best example to support his observation. As Subodh Kerkar hails from Goa; the land of beaches he is always fascinated by its vastness, and may be the character to embrace the non-ending horizon. He rightly points out that civilizations nurtured and developed along the coast and long stretching oceans were basically responsible for spreading culture, exchange of knowledge. He has amplified the concept by concentrating on culture brought in Goa by Portuguese and with their stay here for almost four decades made such a deep impact that the whole culture of Goa changed and today it is known by the identity developed due to Portuguese influence. Goa was one of the typical Indian states before the advent of Portuguese adopted the Western influence and religion (i.e. Christianity) and today it is famous for its westernized character. And when I state Goa having ‘Western character’ it includes even the culinary ingredients which is the topic of interest of ‘Pepper Cross’; new ingredients added to food items, revolutionized Goan kitchens and food habits.  Chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, pineapples, cashew and many other fruits and vegetables were brought into the country. The techniques of baking bread and distilling spirits were introduced. A variety of mangoes were grafted.  Umpteen other culinary novelties were introduced.




Portuguese came to India for taking over the pepper trade from the Arabs and spreading the Christian faith. They were successful in their mission and steadily they colonized Goa and stayed here for more than four decades. Today more than half of the population follows Christianity and the culture they brought in. To symbolize their rowing in basically for trade intentions and spread of Christian religion and apparently the new culinary methods introduced in Goa is all beautifully presented in sculpture ‘Pepper Cross’ using the one hundred years old hull of a fishing boat and a pair of oars to make a Cross pepper itching on it. There are also chilly and bread sculptures which are now a part of regular diet in Goa and all over India.  Though ‘bread’ was rejected as apart of main course by earlier Hindu community because according to them it was not a fresh preparation and made with fermentation process; but the same bread has become important part of even morning breakfast for almost all the people of all religions, apart from Christians. This deliberates on the fact that India has a natural tendency to adopt and covet different religions and cultures that came in India through cross-border connections either forcibly (like European who colonized India) or through trade intentions.



He also gallops down the memory lane by creating an installation of horseshoe patterns on the shores of Goapattanam using shells collected from the same beach. The beach was a major port in carrying out the horse trade between India and Arabia. Later this port was silted but relics of its dock still remind the past and Subodh’s photograph of that installation refreshes the history. His site-based artistic output is a rock smeared with ‘Indigo’. Indigo was all time favorite pigment and this is extracted from a plant Indigofera tinctoria and related species. India grew indigo ever since the Indus Valley civilization, 2000 BC and was the main commodity of export. Subodh states that it was an important part of the cargo on the Caravellas, sailing to the west through the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. So again he highlights importance of ocean in trade and Indigo color as important commodity of trade. The sculpture of ‘cotton-pod’ projects the creative handicraft technique of knitting tablecloths, bedspreads, etc. with thin threads of cotton was introduced to India by the Portuguese.




To sum up, ‘Pepper cross’ highlights the cross-pollination of cultures and subtle ties between various cultures of world and India and Subodh’s photographs, sculptures and installations draw attention to it. It is a unique style of work where instead of traditional method of capturing landscape and seascape on canvas, he uses sea and its surrounding as the base for his imagination and creation. The things with which we are familiar make us contemplate about their very existence in our lives and the exhibits play a role of visual history at large.   Vast sky, Stretched water…


Making the canvas of my vision brighter and broader…Subodh Kerkar’s ‘Pepper Cross’ exhibition at Berlin was a perfect representative of historical reference to amalgamation of cultures and he traces the very roots of its cause- The life giver and speechless communicator- ‘Water’- stretched Seas and vast Oceans which were and will always be instrumental in changing the face of world. . He visualizes the ingression of alien culture into a particular land and how the people get influenced by it. For him ‘Goa’ an Indian state stands as the best example to support his observation. As Subodh Kerkar hails from Goa; the land of beaches he is always fascinated by its vastness, and may be the character to embrace the non-ending horizon. He rightly points out that civilizations nurtured and developed along the coast and long stretching oceans were basically responsible for spreading culture, exchange of knowledge. He has amplified the concept by concentrating on culture brought in Goa by Portuguese and with their stay here for almost four decades made such a deep impact that the whole culture of Goa changed and today it is known by the identity developed due to Portuguese influence. Goa was one of the typical Indian states before the advent of Portuguese adopted the Western influence and religion (i.e. Christianity) and today it is famous for its westernized character. And when I state Goa having ‘Western character’ it includes even the culinary ingredients which is the topic of interest of ‘Pepper Cross’; new ingredients added to food items, revolutionized Goan kitchens and food habits.  Chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, pineapples, cashew and many other fruits and vegetables were brought into the country. The techniques of baking bread and distilling spirits were introduced. A variety of mangoes were grafted.  Umpteen other culinary novelties were introduced.

Portuguese came to India for taking over the pepper trade from the Arabs and spreading the Christian faith. They were successful in their mission and steadily they colonized Goa and stayed here for more than four decades. Today more than half of the population follows Christianity and the culture they brought in. To symbolize their rowing in basically for trade intentions and spread of Christian religion and apparently the new culinary methods introduced in Goa is all beautifully presented in sculpture ‘Pepper Cross’ using the one hundred years old hull of a fishing boat and a pair of oars to make a Cross pepper itching on it. There are also chilly and bread sculptures which are now a part of regular diet in Goa and all over India.  Though ‘bread’ was rejected as apart of main course by earlier Hindu community because according to them it was not a fresh preparation and made with fermentation process; but the same bread has become important part of even morning breakfast for almost all the people of all religions, apart from Christians. This deliberates on the fact that India has a natural tendency to adopt and covet different religions and cultures that came in India through cross-border connections either forcibly (like European who colonized India) or through trade intentions.


He also gallops down the memory lane by creating an installation of horseshoe patterns on the shores of Goapattanam using shells collected from the same beach. The beach was a major port in carrying out the horse trade between India and Arabia. Later this port was silted but relics of its dock still remind the past and Subodh’s photograph of that installation refreshes the history. His site-based artistic output is a rock smeared with ‘Indigo’. Indigo was all time favorite pigment and this is extracted from a plant Indigofera tinctoria and related species. India grew indigo ever since the Indus Valley civilization, 2000 BC and was the main commodity of export. Subodh states that it was an important part of the cargo on the Caravellas, sailing to the west through the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. So again he highlights importance of ocean in trade and Indigo color as important commodity of trade. The sculpture of ‘cotton-pod’ projects the creative handicraft technique of knitting tablecloths, bedspreads, etc. with thin threads of cotton was introduced to India by the Portuguese.To sum up, ‘Pepper cross’ highlights the cross-pollination of culture



(Subodh Kerkar working at studio- Goa- India)

2 comments:

  1. Exploring Subodh Kerker like ..like sea

    ReplyDelete
  2. Subodh Kerker is master in Installation Art

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for comment JK