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The Asian Age

Rummana Hussain continues in the post-Modernist footsteps of Vivan Sundaram's installation at the Gallery Chemould. Instead of discarding the xeroxed letters stuck to the wall, the leftovers from his Shergil Archives installation, Rummana has "cancelled" them painting them over with white-wash, leasing the viewer (like Joseph Kosuth with his 1986 environment of Cancelled Texts) into reading the still discernible letter forming the backdrop for the photographic images in her own installation. 

She also pays Sundaram a tribute to the appropriation of his vision of the artist functioning both at personal and patriotic levels by titling her installation, Home Nation. Rummana, like Sundara, is actively involved with Sahmat, a cultural organisation that promotes secularism. 

This has prompted her to make an interesting choice of subjects: women's rights on the personal level forming the "Home" part of the installation, while the Ayodha incident is taken on the "national" level. Therefore, one sees photo montages both of the mosques as well as little closeups of women making rotis. 

The 30-minute performance piece, Living on the Margins, that she conceived and performed last year at the NCPA, also provides much of the imagery. In the current installation, she uses an edited video version of the performance as well as stills of the soundless primeval scream and the halved papaya. These two images in conjunction with the arches of the Ganga-Jumni architecture are in fact a synonym for the female. They are all receptacles, meant to nurture and protect- they are however (both the building and the woman) helpless against violation by man.

-Gallery Chemould