Ali Akbar Mehta and Vidha Saumya
Are individual Helsinki based artists with a collaborative practice that deals with food and community, having worked in the past together on projects such as VICCA Food Journal and Outsider Caffe. Pixelache’s 2019 curatorial team have invited the pair to challenge festival goers through their culinary perceptions in collaboration with some of Pixelache’s food production associates and connections.
Ali Akbar Mehta is a founder and current Artistic Director of the Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki. Through his research-based transmedia practice, he creates immersive cyber archives that explore collective memetic history, narratives of memory, identity, violence, and conflict. He has exhibited his projects in galleries and alternative spaces in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Helsinki, and Tampere. He holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, and an MA in Visual Culture, Curating, and Contemporary Art from Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, where he completed a thesis text titled “Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge”. Some of his ongoing projects are “256 Million Colours of Violence”, “Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori”, “War Room Echo”, “Regarding the pain of Other Cyborgs”,”New Frontiers: Critical enquiries for archives as Artistic Praxis”, and “Non-Alignment as Resistance: Towards Cyber Archives as counter-hegemonic practice”. He lives and works in Helsinki and Mumbai.
In Vidha Saumya’s art-making, the format of the book has played a central role. The powerful drawings in Purdah (2007), which she made while studying for a Diploma in Visual Communications Design at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, began with a curiosity about the religious and social ramifications of Islam. While at Srishti, Saumya was awarded a scholarship by the South Asia Foundation for an Independent Study Programme at Lahore’s Beaconhouse National University, in 2007. In Lahore, she documented ephemeral encounters with Lahori rickshaw-wallahs in a book of illustrations titled Guftagoon: Gutargoon (2008), which prompted her to repeat the adventure with their counterparts in Bombay. The following year, she developed a book of drawings titled Explosives (2009), which enacted an overheated sexual fantasy; but its shock value was blunted through a repeated assault on our senses.
Photo Credit: Vesa-Pekka Grönfors, courtesy of M-Cult, from their Partizaning Maunula event.