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Past Present
Mansaram Retrospective

Art Gallery of Mississauga, 2013


Inspired by a love of India, Mansaram’s art features icons floating in the middle of panels like an elaborate modernist cartoon. Mansaram seduces us with a variety of creative practices; however his presentation is solid, thoughtful and poetic. The work suggests that the social fabric of India is a type of collage in motion, the mosaic of people, layers of colour and the palimpsest of centuries creating an inspiring, visceral experience.

Not shy of a gestural move, Mansaram uses abstract shapes coalesced to colour blocks and merged with layered images. Slow and sly, works such as My First Collage (1964) flirt with our eye, yet on further examination we realize the emotional weight of the piece, and understand the burdens and the freedoms associated with being an artist in a new country. Mansaram found his way with his studio practice. Artefacts, books and ephemera litter Mansaram’s studio – these informative displays in the exhibition assist in informing the viewer about the influences of the artist. In Mansaram’s work, nothing is erased, or rendered invisible. His pieces present what we already know – they’re thoughtfully composed and remind us of the beauty of the everyday, ultimately asking us to contemplate what we see in our own lives and our own histories.