Jugalbandi: Rediscovering our Shared Identities

This exhibition and artworks were commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts and RMIT University

Jugalbandi is duet, usually used in reference to music — often consisting of two people with very different skills — but in the same field. The key challenge is how as a graphic designer and visual artist can one use this opportunity of jugalbandi to create something that is not only unique and interesting, but meaningful to the participants and the viewer.

As a artist, Ishan is interested in understanding unique indigenous identities in and outside India. For this show, Ishan Khosla was one of the several artists in India and Australia commissioned to create a series of artworks that reflected the dialogue of objects, skills and stories between the two cultures. Ishan Khosla decided to work votive terracotta in the Molela style of art with Jumnalal Kumbhar. For Ishan, Jugalbandi represents the coming together of aspects from two cultures — Aboriginal Australian and Indian — with the Rainbow Serpant and Naag Dev serving a means to understand, interpret and juxtapose the two cultures. In an ideal situation and funding permitting, we would have liked to have worked with an Aboriginal Australian artist.

The Rainbow Serpant and Naag Dev are not only viewed as the creator and ancestor but also as a fertility symbol. The depictions vary but the similar metaphors are astounding!
The first four images are of the Naag Mandir (snake temple) in the village of Molela, where the artisan, Jumnalal lives in. The fifth image shows the traditional depictions of the Naag Dev with a "sketch" on the right of the Naag Dev and the Rainbow Serpant.

Interestingly on Ishan's visit to Molela while working on the serpants with Jumnalal, he found a long snake, a cobra, just outside his house.

Seen here is the metaphorical meeting of the two great mythical serpants in the middle three panels. On the extreme left is how the Naag is raditionally made in the votive Molela style and on the extreme right is a depiction of the Rainbow Serpant shaping the terrain of Australia as per the Dreaming stories. The exhibition Jugalbandi presents the cultural dialogue between Australia and India. Jugalbandi is associated with Sangam: The Australia India Design Platform. It is supported by the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council.

The last image in the series shows Jumnalal participating in the round table discussion at Jugalbandhi held at NID, Ahmedabad.

Artworks made with potter, Jumnalal Kumhar, in Molela. +91-9829-041935