“The most powerful words in English are ‘Tell me a story,’ words that are intimately related to the
complexity of history, the origins of language, the continuity of the species, the taproot of our
humanity, our singularity, and art itself.” -Pat Conroy.
In her ongoing virtual exhibition, artist Shanthamani M tells us the story of a city that seems
mundane, prosaic, familiar and cliché, yet at the heart of that narrative lies the enduring accounts of human achievements and failures. ‘Past Continuous’, as the show is titled, is the
artist’s ode to the city where she lives and works. Hosted by the Museum of Art & Photography
(MAP), Bengaluru, the exhibition compiles photomontages, video and text through which the
artist has documented the city of Bangalore in the early 2000s.
The juxtaposition of the past next to the present mirrors the very character of the metro city
where a multi-storied shopping complex stands near an old museum building and an electric
power transformer coexists with a wall niche that houses a clay lamp. The old rituals continue to
be practised when the cityscape is always in flux. ‘Past Continuous’ encourages the viewers
to look around them to explore the connections between the historical and immediate past and
their present that will flow into the future.
Shantamani M is a multidisciplinary artist who received her formal training in visual art first
from Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, Mysore and then from the MS University, Baroda.
In her long career, her works have been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions across the
country and London, Miami and Singapore, among other cities. She was a recipient of the
prestigious Charles Wallace Scholarship. Her large scale sculptural piece ‘Backbone’ was
featured in the second edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale in 2014.