For the spring/summer 2011 season Mpdclick explores a trend inspired by the vibrant culture of India and the Middle East. We consider Generation Y’s yearning for escape and spiritual enlightenment through travel, while focusing on the contemporary creativity rising from such locations.
India and the Middle East’s Gen Y (today’s youths and young adults) have developed a fashionable and contemporary approach to their culture and even religion, respecting traditions but striving for a different future.
In recent month’s Mpdclick has noticed an influx in such culture inspiring the arts, with a host of dynamic young Asians at the forefront. Two such artists are British Asians’ photographer Hetain Patel and musician and visual artist Jason Singh.
As part of the first generation of his Indian family to be born in the UK, Hetain Patel’s work addresses his identity between two different cultures. Through video, photographic portraits and self-portraits he explores the areas between both, and cleverly displays his interest in language. He covers himself in text, or henna and mendhi; the differing languages he uses dictating differing thoughts, and then frames in typically Western stylized images. He comments that the discovery of his identity is ‘in his own hands’, and tries to reveal that. His aim is to reveal a contemporary picture of the cultural dynamics between the countries to which he is connected.
To inspire his work Patel has learnt many traditional Indian art forms, including henna and mendhi and even how to play the tabla drum. “It is said that to learn an Indian classical art form is to gain an insight into the very essence of Indian thought” he comments on his website. Mpdclick notes a seemingly worldwide revival in traditional pastimes and renewed interest in heritage amongst Gen Y.
Jason Singh is a Manchester based International DJ, Beatboxer, Workshop Facilitator, Composer and Visual Artist. He has extensively toured India with his music, performed at many festivals and displayed his art at galleries across the world. Jason has been the artist in residence at Contact Theatre Manchester and Tutti Arts in Adelaide SA for some time, his technique combining all mediums of the arts from music to imagery via touring installations.
Patel and Singh have worked together on the two year touring project Sine Language, ending at Gallery Oldham, UK, this month. This collaborative project explored drumming rhythms from Indian classical drumming to beat boxing, physical performance and environmental noise.
Keep an eye on the Journal as throughout the season we discover further aspirations for displaying a contemporary take on culture, and those making their individual marks on the creative industry to do so.
Image sources: Left: bbc.co.uk/nottingham/culture Hetain Patel. Right: Myspace.com/Jason Singh