One of India’s leading artists as well as a writer and pedagogue, Gulammohammed Sheikh is known for weaving into his works layers of references drawn from literature, art history, politics and autobiography.
Gandhi and Gama (2014) is a triptych that imagines a confrontation across centuries between two key protagonists in the story of colonialism in India. In it, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, whose arrival in Malabar in the 15th century inaugurated the European scramble for India, looks across a mappa mundi (a medieval hand-drawn map of the world) at a young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi contemplating the demise of the British Raj in the 20th century.
The mappa mundi is a recurrent motif in Sheikh’s works. In several paintings, he has used a combination of digital collage and painting to rework these medieval European imaginings of the world by incorporating elements drawn from India.