6 May – 31 October 2015 Palazzo Benzon, San Marco 3917, Venice 30124 Concept and Commissioner: Feroze Gujral, Founder/ Director, The Gujral Foundation Artists: Rashid Rana (Pakistan) and Shilpa Gupta (India) Curatorial Advisor and Public Programmes Curator: Natasha Ginwala


My East is Your West, was presented as a Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by The Gujral Foundation, this landmark exhibition united for the first time at the Biennale the historically conflicting nations of India and Pakistan in a shared exhibition by artists from both countries. Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai) and Rashid Rana (Lahore) each presented a new series of works at the Palazzo Benzon, situated in the centre of Venice on the Grand Canal. As neither India nor Pakistan had a permanent national pavilion in Venice, this presentation provided a unique platform for artists from South Asia to enter into a dialogue through the arts, representing the Indian subcontinent as one region. Titled after a light installation by Shilpa Gupta, My East is Your West was born out of the desire to reposition the complex climate of historical relations between South Asia’s nation-states and presented the region as a shared cultural cartography. Shilpa Gupta’s series of works brought together over four years of ongoing research in the India-Bangladesh borderlands and the world’s longest security barrier between two nation-states currently in construction. She exhibited works ranging from installation, video, photography, drawings, text-based pieces and performance, which took place throughout the opening week and at intervals throughout the Biennale. Rashid Rana presented an immersive setting across five rooms surveying the conception of presence, temporality and location as collective experience, across digital printmaking, video and installation. In a livestream video work, produced in collaboration with the Lahore Biennale Foundation, viewers were transported from Venice to Lahore and vice versa. Reflecting each distinctive practice, both artists explored and examined the integral essence of a people divided, a history which spans antiquity, colonial modernity and a cosmopolitan present entangled inconflict. With works that brought to the foreground entangled realities of the Indian subcontinent, Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana developed a material aesthetic that surveyed the potential of a common region, separate from the state and its model. Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana and Naeem Mohaiemen, also exhibited at the Venice Biennale, participated in an artist talk, Imagined Cartographies, focusing on their practice and contemporary art in South Asia.

Courtesy Gujral Foundation website

Press Coverage

“For the first time two historically conflicting countries have joined together. My East is Your West is an example of established artists being challenged to create new work that has historical perspective – but with a new outlook” Forbes, 19th June 2015

“Perhaps the most newsworthy collateral event at this year’s Biennale, My East Is Your West could be described as ‘the India and Pakistan pavilion’ — although neither country has given it their official backing. But private patrons, including Feroze Gujral who runs the Gujral Foundation with her architect husband Mohit, can go where diplomacy fears to tread.” Christies, 5th May 2015

“The decision to unite for an exhibition at the Venice Biennale though ranks as perhaps the most high profile initiative yet. The catalyst for the pavilion is the businesswoman & philanthropist Feroze Gujral” Financial Times, 1st May 2015

“Gupta’s poignant and minimalist aesthetic contrasted with the grandeur and spectacular presentation of Rana’s works.” The Sunday Guardian, 14th June 2015

“Both have made works which poignantly connect and simultaneously reveal the litany of possibilities which border their territory.” The Indian Express, 15th May 2015

“A unique Indo- Pakistan collaboration has become the highlight of the art world’s Olympics.” The Times of India, 24th May 2015

“That effort turned into one of the most anticipated presentations at the Biennale, an official collateral event featuring the work of Shilpa Gupta from India & Rashid Rana from Pakistan” Blouin Art Info, 7th May 2015

Biography of artists

Basir Mahmood

Debashish Chakrabarty

About Gujral

The Gujral Foundation was founded in 2008 by Mohit and Feroze Gujral, son and daughter-­‐in-­‐law of renowned Indian Modernist artist, Satish Gujral. The foundation is a non-­‐profit trust dedicated to supporting contemporary cultural engagements within the realms of art, design and culture in the Indian subcontinent. Feroze Gujral, philanthropist and entrepreneur, also founded Outset India in 2011, a philanthropic organisation which provides a platform for contemporary art in India, and for Indian artists abroad. Feroze Gujral is on the advisory board of the Kochi Murziris Biennale and on the board of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). Mohit Gujral is a leading Indian architect and is part of the core management and is on the executive board of India’s largest real estate development company. Amongst other projects, The Gujral Foundation has arranged the loan of ‘Aspinwall’, the primary location of the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012 and 2014 and has supported the 55th Venice Biennale, South Asian artists at the 8th Berlin Biennale and the Guggenheim Museum, New York exhibition, V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life (2014). For the past three years The Gujral Foundation has fostered a range of projects steadily expanding its reach with the world of contemporary art and is committed to building infrastructures that sustain cultural freedom, social engagement and the artistic imagination.