Review: IAF2016 / Showcasing Modernism in Architecture: Ram Rahman at the IAF 2016/ JohnyML
In India Art Fair 2016 one cannot miss the special booth of Ram Rahman, supported by the Guild Gallery, which brings images of Nehruvian Modernism through the medium of architecture.. Johny ML reports from IAF 2016, day two, for Art Tehelka..
In India Art Fair 2016 people cannot miss the special booth of Ram Rahman. If he is present he would speak to one and all in his hall mark voice. It has been a passion and style of Ram Rahman, the noted photography artist, activist and an outspoken critic of oppressive regimes that include monopolistic art history. Ram Rahman does not miss a chance to talk to people about his ideas and works and also never misses a chance to raise voice against those hands that curb the modern history of Delhi via certain atrocious interpolations especially when it comes to the history of modern architecture in Delhi. He has been at the forefront of struggles against such vandalism and has been successful in eking out some response from the authorities.
Ram Rahman, as his name shows represents the secular unity of India and there is enough reason for that. He was born to Habib Rahman, the modern architect and Indrani Rahman, an accomplished dancer. Ram Rahman however does not pursue the dance history of India the way he follows and argues for the history of modern architecture not only in Delhi but also elsewhere as a major contribution to the city of Delhi in terms of architectural wonders made by his father. In India Art Fair 2016, Ram Rahman has a special booth supported by the Guild Gallery, Mumbai and the booth has vignettes of his father’s legacy as an architect.
This booth speaks of Nehruvian Modernism through the medium of architecture. Ram Rahman makes a meticulous effort to showcase the important architectural designs that Mr.Habib Rahman had done during the years when Nehru imagined a Modern India. Educated at the MIT, the United States, Habib Rahman returned to India to become one of the chosen architects along with Charles Correa, Cavinde and so on. In the meanwhile Le Courbussier was making history of modern Chandigarh through architectural interventions.
Habib Rahman designed the assembly building of West Bengal, the Engineering College in Bengal, the famous Lalit Kala Akademi building in Delhi, Sheila cinema hall in Old Delhi to name a few. Perhaps, in modern architecture discourse in Delhi, Habib Rahman has not yet been given adequate space and mention and like many other contemporary architects, his works are not showcased in a retrospective or an exhibition of that scale. Ram Rahman is not a person to bow down just like that. He pitches his argument on Nehruvian Modernism in architecture and if there is a notion called Nehruvian architecture, then definitely one has to see the contributions of Habib Rahman.
Ram Rahman makes his special booth interesting by inserting ironic images of national leaders in various forms including portable cutouts, photographed by him in certain accidental yet decisive moments. To give a political edge to the project in the India Art Fair, Ram Rahman also has thrown in the Ayodhya/ Ram Janma Bhoomi / Babri Masjid issue as an architectural discourse with graphic designs and a time line. Worth visiting.