Illuminate the Plaza Presented by PNC Arts Alive: Messengers

Exhibition Info
Lenfest Plaza
Curated by
Ellie Clark
Manager of Exhibitions and Interpretation
An outdoor screening of excerpts from Chitra Ganesh’s recent animations

Messengers is a compilation of excerpts from Chitra Ganesh’s The Scorpion Gesture, a suite of five animations, and her latest animation, Before the WarThe Scorpion Gesture (2018) was created for a solo show and residency at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. These animations are inspired by artworks in the Museum that relate to Padmasabhava, known to Tibetans as the Second Buddha, and Maitreya, the Future Buddha, though each departs from the aesthetics and iconography associated with the traditional works. Collaging her line drawings, watercolors, and paintings with elements from historical reference works, these animations live and linger between two and three dimensions, challenging conventional limitations of drawing and sculpture.

Before the War began with an invitation from musician Saul Williams to create a filmic response to one of his songs. The animation explores an open-ended narrative of memory, love and loss, animated by the social and political shifts catalyzed by the current pandemic environment and the politically polarizing years preceding COVID-19.

Animated by THE STUDIO NYC, these pieces speak simultaneously to the historical past, the sociopolitical realities of our present, and the speculative potential of apocalyptic and far futures. Messengers will be projected on PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building as part of the Illuminate the Plaza series from dusk until dawn February 24, 2022 – April 3, 2022. Illuminate the Plaza is generously funded by PNC Arts Alive to support artists working in the digital realm 


Artist's Bio:

Chitra Ganesh is a Brooklyn-based visual artist whose work encompasses drawing, painting, comics, installation, video art, and animation. Through studies in literature, semiotics, social theory, science fiction, and historical and mythic texts, Ganesh attempts to reconcile representations of femininity, sexuality, and power absent from the artistic and literary canons. She often draws on Hindu and Buddhist iconography and South Asian forms such as Kalighat and Madhubani, and is currently negotiating her relationship to these images with the rise of right wing fundamentalism in India.

Ganesh holds a BA in Art-Semiotics and Comparative Literature from Brown University, and an MFA from Columbia University. She has exhibited widely across the U.S., Europe, and South Asia and her work is held in prominent public collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. Ganesh's site specific QUEERPOWER FACADE commission at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, A city will share her secrets if you know how to ask, is on view through June 2022.

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