‘Very Small Feelings’ – exploring the inner child

by Team ACF
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4th July – 23rd September, 2023 | Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Saket

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art has announced its new exhibition ‘Very Small Feelings’, the fourth exhibition in the multi-part, long-term programme ‘Young Artists of Our Times’ series, in collaboration with Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka. 

Bringing together 42 projects ranging from new commissions, historical works, performances, books, personal and institutional archives, artist’s creative prompts turned into installations, and many kinds of landscapes. 

The exhibition seeks to encounter the eternal inner child in us and bind us strongly to it.

Conceived as a ‘spread’ where stories, rituals, characters, memories and actions provide a space for intergenerational conversations and entanglements, ‘Very Small Feelings’ sees youth as a conceptual category, not defined by age, but as a place of possibility – staged through known and forgotten tales, popular characters, cartoons and narratives deeply embedded in one’s consciousness.



Joydeb Roaja, Go Back to Roots 39, 2022. Ink pen on paper 76 x 56 cm KNMA Collection, New Delhi

Roobina Karode, Director and Chief Curator, KNMA, “Very Small Feelings’ is a collaborative effort between curators, Akansha Rastogi and Diana Campbell, with the coming together of two institutions in South Asia, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Samdani Art Foundation. For viewers, the exhibition tends to become a space for action, emotion, exploration and reflection, with works of diverse scale, material and content.”

Akansha Rastogi, Senior Curator, Programming and Exhibitions, KNMA adds, “In many ways this exhibition is so much about the power of the oral and storytelling, it’s joys and everydayness, performativity of telling and retelling stories we know and how they change in each iteration, when the whole being is involved, with emotions, feelings, and intellect. The exhibition wants to access that place where there is a glow of discovery and realisations. There is an old saying, ‘Nothing is older than a child.’ ‘Very Small Feelings’ explores this circuitous, labyrinth-like adage as a provocation to turn the museum into a playground and creative space for intergenerational conversations.”

“Children’s artworks placed along with well-known Indian, Bangladeshi and international artists’ works form an important part of the exhibition. And with that it turns the focus on artist-educators who work with young learners,” shares Rastogi. 

The exhibition features works across a range of media, including, a new commission work by Mumbai-based architect duo Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty, sculptural installation by Delhi-based artist Murari Jha, Guandeoupe artist Kelly Sinnapah Mary, a large installation by Indonesian artist Aditya Novali in collaboration with his sister Ade Dianita, a new site specific murals by Finnish artist Jani Ruscica, a participatory performance by Bangladeshi artist Yasmin Jahan Nupur which is also supported by Bagri Foundation, and Berlin-based artist Simon Fujiwara’s new set of works on his character of ‘Who the Baer’, among other works.



Simon Fujiwara Once Upon a Who?, 2021 Still from stop-motion animation Duration: 5:01 min Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul Still © Simon Fujiwara

Other prominent international artists and projects include Vietnamese artist Thao Nguyễn Phan’s installation ‘Tropical Siesta’ and Dutch artist Afra Eisma’s work is among the largest tapestries and textile-based work ever exhibited by KNMA. 

The historical part of the exhibition highlights new research on forgotten artists like Leela Mukherjee and Devi Prasad, bringing to focus their life as artist-educators, and on artists Chittaprosad and Benodebehari Mukherjee.

Shillong based artist Lapdiang Syiem’s video-work connects India and Bangladesh via the folklore of the Shillong’s Khasi hill tribes, and a presentation by the Anga Art Collective focuses on the village elders in western Assam close to the Bangladesh border, who were forced to abandon their homes as their village drowned in Brahmaputra due to erosion. Many of these works highlight the closeness of Bangladesh and East and Northeast India, through language, shared borders, stories and climate challenges.



Afra Eisma
Poke Press Squeeze Clasp, 2021-23 Yarn, ceramics, textiles. Presentation organized with the support of Mondriaan Funds. Image credit: Installation view of Imaginary Friends. Photo Pep Herrero. © Fundacio Joan Miro 2023. Courtesy of the artist and No Man’s Art Gallery

Renowned author Amitav Ghosh’s ‘Jungle Nama’, an adaptation of a legend from the Sundarbans which speaks to nature, human boundaries and balance, will come to life through its audio-visual presentation and collaboration with Salman Toor and Ali Sethi. To further animate the presentation, Amitav Ghosh will also speak at the KNMA on July 14th about the climate emergencies addressed in folklore and legends, as well as the relationship of a people with their environments.

Other highlights include a new commissioned project by artist Nidhi Khurana, who will be artist-in-residence inside the exhibition and respond to modernist master Devi Prasad’s writing and curriculum-making as an artist-educator.

‘Very Small Feelings’ is speckled with artworks made by children, some with annotations indicating how to read, approach these drawings and the category of child-art, by artist-educator Devi Prasad. Another children’s related project showcase is of Artreach-KNMA Teaching Fellowship which has been ongoing since 2016 with different shelter homes in Delhi NCR.

The exhibition is curated by Akansha Rastogi (Senior Curator, KNMA) and Diana Campbell (Chief Curator, Dhaka Art Summit) with Ruxmini Choudhury (Assistant Curator, Samdani Art Foundation), Avik Debdas and Swati Kumari. Co-produced by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Samdani Art Foundation (SAF).



Kelly Sinnaphah Mary Notebook 12: the Fables of Sanbras, 2022, Acrylic on paper
Commissioned by Samdani Art Foundation and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art Courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery

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