In the inaugural edition of the Art Basel Miami Beach Meridians sector, Kavi Gupta is honored to present a large-scale installation by Manish Nai of 100 Burma teak sticks wrapped in indigo-dyed jute cloth.
Manish Nai's work layers these histories of labor, anti-imperialist struggle, and the materiality of culture in a formal practice which also draws influence from minimalism, architecture, environmentalism, and contemporary urban India. Nai references the material histories of indigo in the South Asia subcontinent, alluding to its links to colonialism and the institution of debt-based slavery. British colonialists wreaked social and ecological havoc on the population of Bengal by forcing farmers to cultivate indigo instead of the food crops required for survival and charged huge rates of interest to farmers on loans for indigo farming. Within Nai’s abstraction, loss does not occur. Rather, like the bodies that have occupied the clothes now compressed into slender pillars, the object as an object disappears only to reappear immediately (clued in the pillars by the chance button, depiction, and pattern) with a renewed sensibility and presence.