Gathering Delights

Photos courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s new Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) is celebrating the work of Indian artist N S Harsha in its first summer exhibition. Gathering Delights is the largest-ever solo show of Harsha’s work, featuring paintings, sculptures and community-based pieces from his 20-year career.

Born in 1969, N S Harsha lives and works in Mysuru, southern India. Drawing from a broad spectrum of Indian painting traditions and popular arts, as well as the Western canon, Harsha creates quietly philosophical and luminous works that reflect on geopolitical order and our increasingly technologically mediated relationship with the world.

Harsha often deploys textiles and sewing machines in his works as materials as well as key motifs, depicting personal memories and collective gestures that weave human acts with the state of the world and the universe. Nations (2007-2019) is a monumental installation where pieces of cloth adorned with the flags of the United Nations’ member states are draped on 193 foot-operated sewing machines, denoting industrialisation and labour as key drivers for developing nations.

In Future (2007/2019), Harsha will work with 100 school children who will express their ambitions and dreams on adult-sized shirts, which they will later wear as part of a parade in October and subsequently be displayed in the exhibition.

Other events taking place during the exhibition include a community program in collaboration with one of India’s first organic farmers from Krac-A-Dawna Organic Farm—a partnership which stemmed from a concern for sustainability. The programme will help participants to explore how nature stimulates creative thinking and artistic forms.

The gallery itself is interesting too, part of a project to conserve The Mills, the former cotton-spinning mills of Nan Fung Textiles in Tsuen Wan. Through its exhibitions and workshop program, CHAT will tell the stories of Hong Kong’s textile industry, its rapid development through the second half of the twentieth century and its innovative legacy.

Gathering Delights runs until 3 November 2019, CHAT, The Mills, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.

Blog post by Kate Lawson

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