Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014: Vasco da Gama Square

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

Balancing ActKochi-Muziris Biennale

Balancing Act \ Gulammohammed Sheikh

Gulammohammed Sheikh's 'Balancing Act' (2014) is a public sculptural installation inspired by an 18th century Jaipur School miniature painting depicting acrobats on a tightrope performing before a ruler and his court.

Balancing ActKochi-Muziris Biennale

The painting depicts the king and courtiers at what seems to be a moment of crisis; with a seemingly resigned king facing a dictating diwan on a balcony in the centre as noblemen on either side drag away two young princes. As Sheikh points out, the time of this painting’s creation coincided with British takeover of Rajput kingdoms including Jaipur. The acrobats depicted in the miniature in various tricky positions can thus be read as allegories for the precariousness of the kingdom’s political situation.

Balancing ActKochi-Muziris Biennale

Balancing Act \ 2014 \ Fibre glass with acrylic paint and Melayne varnish, metal poles, ropes, wires etc.

In his sculptural translation of these acrobats, the artist has modified their facial features to resemble current political figures, thus conflating political intrigues of the present with a similarly turbulent period in the past. In doing so, he also points to art’s enduring entanglement with politics, as a site to critically reflect on the present.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
What is Contemporary Art?
Challenging the notion of art itself – explore the art of our recent past, present and future
View theme
Google apps