Venkat Raman Singh Shyam is from the Pardhan Gond people. The Gond are one of the largest indigenous groups of India and are spread throughout several states of central India. Their artwork is characterised by intricate design, storytelling and the use of natural symbols, such as trees and animals, with meanings rooted in folktales and Gond culture. Gond paintings were initially created only on the walls of dwellings and expressed religious belief and sentiment, recorded daily life, local festivals, and the objects, spirits and creatures Gond people perceived around them.
Aag was painted in response to the closure of numerous European airports due to the clouds of volcanic ash that erupted from volcano Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland in 2010. Venkat Raman Singh Shyam was returning from travel in the United States at the time and was stranded at Frankfurt airport for seven days, in the largest air-traffic closure since World War Two.
Interview with the artist
Since 1993, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) has been the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art's flagship contemporary art series. APT has driven the Gallery's focus on the region and enabled the development of one of the world's most significant collections of contemporary Asian, Pacific and Australian art.
'The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT8)
21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016