Sahej Rahal creates a body of new work about the imaginary country of Barricadia
- Susan Mansfield
- 8 September 2017
Mumbai-born artist who was selected to make work for the Liverpool Biennial last year brings his first show to Scotland
There is a rich tradition of artists who invent whole new worlds in which to explore their ideas. This summer, Mumbai-born Sahej Rahal has spent eight weeks at Cove Park, the artist residency centre in Argyll, creating a body of new work for Glasgow's CCA about the country of Barricadia.
Flotsam and jetsam picked up in Scotland will come together with mythology and science fiction to create the artefacts and histories of this invented land. Rahal's practice combines performance, film, installation and sculpture, and also references contemporary political events in his native India, such as the peaceful protests which followed a recent spate of Islamophobic lynchings.
Rahal, who was born in Mumbai in 1988, is considered to be one of India's most interesting young contemporary artists, and was selected to make work for the Liverpool Biennial last year. This will be his first show in Scotland, and will also include remade versions of previous works and a film, 'Dry Salvages', first shown in Nottingham earlier this year.
CCA curator Ainslie Roddick believes Rahal's work will chime with many of his Glasgow-based contemporaries. 'I think his work here will speak to practitioners working in the city who think through materials and sculptural practice,' says Roddick. 'It will also raise important questions about the worlds we all create for ourselves in uncertain times. Sahej is a prolific thinker and maker and it's been a great process working through the sculptural works and performative actions together.'
With a broad frame of references stretching from Star Wars to Jorge Luis Borges, his imagined world promises to be unique. Rahal says: 'Barricadia emerges, fragmented across borders and histories. It is a temporal, autonomous, organic place. It is built and undone each day, and each night it is rebuilt upon the masonry of hope, held steadfast across lands, across ages, against the dire winds of hate.'
CCA, Glasgow, Sat 16 Sep–Sun 29 Oct.