new-delhi

Gauri Gill, Untitled (13), 2015–, ink-jet print, 24 x 16". From the series “Acts of Appearance,” 2015–.

Gauri Gill

Nature Morte

Gauri Gill, Untitled (13), 2015–, ink-jet print, 24 x 16". From the series “Acts of Appearance,” 2015–.

“Who does the indigenous turn belong to?” asked keynote speaker Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak at the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh this past February. The postcolonial theorist posed this question in response to the recent focus on so-called indigenous practices—a focus made manifest, in particular, in a critical-writing program at the summit. Prodding us to question the very term indigenous and its historical origins, Spivak recalled the distinction between work that acts as an extension of the colonial project and work that subverts it.

The same month, Gauri Gill held her exhibition “Acts of Appearance” in New Delhi. At the entrance, in place of a curatorial wall text, the artist displayed the names of thirty-three people from an adivasi, or indigenous community, in the Indian city of Jawhar in Maharashtra. Over the course of three years, Gill worked with artists there—makers

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