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THE THINGS I SAY : Balaji Ponna
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Exhibition Photo Description:
B A L A J I P O N N A The Things I Say At Studio la Citta in collaboration with The Guild March 27 – June 26, 2010 Studio La Citta is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Balaji Ponna in collaboration with The Guild, Mumbai. “Balaji continues his preoccupation with the contemporary popular/ist idea of nationality and brings to fore his persistent engagement with the themes that are closer to him. In a sense his works are ‘anachronic’ because of his persistence with the idea of nation and nationalism, when even the idea of nation itself is collapsing before the power of ‘capital’. His works are a take on the contemporary sociological, political realities vis-a- vis the utopian dreams and idealized popular/ist ideals that the young independent Indian nation began with. Often his works question the system’s inconsistencies with pun and satire. But interestingly these also refer to the popular/ist ideologies in circulation defining betterment and emancipation. His works also talk about labour and its unending toils. “Thanks for the last elections...” is an interesting take on the electoral politics and the way it’s been performed by the political/bureaucratic/capital class in India, and on the other hand is also a reflection of the ever present poverty and resourcefulness of the people to survive. Balaji’s recent take on the concept of nationalism brings through his beliefs on the democratic system and a possibility of reformation within the same order. By remembering an imaginary and idealized past of political and social ethicality he attempts to visualize a better possibility. (Excerpt from an essay by V. Divakar) Born in 1980, Balaji Ponna received his B.F.A in Graphics from Andhra University with Gold medal and M.F.A in Graphics from Visva - Bharati University, Santiniketan. He has been recipient of H.R.D. National Scholarship for young Artists (2004–05). Balaji’s first solo ‘Black Smoke’ was presented by Bose Pacia Kolkata in collaboration with The Guild in 2009. Selected group exhibitions include - "Contemporary Exoticism" curated by Marco Meneguzzo at Studio La Citta, Verona; Art Basel by Studio la Citta, 2009; 'A New Vanguard: Trends in Contemporary Indian Art', Saffronart, New York and The Guild, New York; ’The July Show’ at The Guild and ‘Are We Like This Only’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi. His works were exhibited at the France Print Biennial in 2009.

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