Invisible Narratives: Contemporary Indian Creatives from Aotearoa presents a range of contemporary work that offers perspective into the lives and experiences of New Zealanders of Indian descent. These diasporic relationships actively explore physical, spiritual and emotional connection through a range of diverse mediums including painting, photography, installation and moving image.
The Kshetra Collective is a group of seven New Zealand artists and creatives with Indian heritage. Rather than representing a specific group, religion or language their strength comes from the diversity of the New Zealand Indian community they embrace. Their artworks aim to expand viewers’ ideas about the Indian diaspora in Aotearoa. Works reference the exploitation and marginalisation of the colonial experience in prior homelands—India, Fiji, Mauritius, Malaysia—and reveal continuing marginalisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. (While) Other works attest to the breadth of cultural and philosophical wealth that comes out of India. As such, the exhibition ranges a full spectrum of emotion from the celebration of a colourful culture and brave new beginnings to the depths of sorrow and tragedy.
The Kshetra Collective works to generate opportunities for artists of Indian origin to be more visible, understood and respected, in order to foster a more harmonious and multicultural Aotearoa. They are united in their work that challenges stereotypes and explores belonging for diasporic communities. Art making, for them, is as a way of preserving heritage, a means for wellness and a way for expressing their unique whakapapa as members of the contemporary Indian diaspora.
This exhibition highlights how valuable it is to humanise immigration to challenge prejudice and bias. The stories of South Pacific Indian diaspora are important, as migrant stories are rarely told, and their voices rarely heard. With this as a fundamental concern, Kshetra Collective presents artworks from their subjective experiences that urgently need to be brought to light.