Not Waving but Drowning Solo Exhibition – Curated by Sumesh Manoj Sharma

by Revati Sharma Singh

Nobody heard him, the dead man, 
But still he lay moaning: 
I was much further out than you thought 
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking 
And now he’s dead 
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, 
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always 
(Still the dead one lay moaning) 
I was much too far out all my life 
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith, 1957


‘Our attitudes create the form’ 
recent practices by Revati Sharma Singh

By casting grains in silver, grains that cling to jute, Revati produces residual visions of something precious. In the ‘mandis’ – agricultural markets for grain, when jute sacks carrying grains are emptied they leave a few clinging to the jute. Jute, a fiber that is endemic to India, has travelled across the world as a carrier of colonial goods such as tea, coffee, wheat, sugar and coal. Today it is a remnant of trade that once enslaved millions of people and is being replaced by synthetic polyester bags easily produced and less labour intensive but highly pollutive. Revati builds a dispositif of contrasting silver grains that are shiny bright and float against a landscape of gathered jute.

Revati’s grains are made precious to remind us of the seed banks of unmodified grains we still hold in contrast to genetically hybrid grains being peddled to end food insecurity. Much like the millions made off the psychiatric drugs that are poured into our systems by pharmaceutical majors. A recent work is a Constellation of ceramics where she added decals of newsprint of ceramic transfers onto porcelain that read out articles on food insecurity and starvation in Africa and the Levantine. brought about by war in Ukraine. and Palestine.

Seeing the grain as a marker of primordial existence of life on earth and her affinities to grain conceptually as a mother her exhibition opens to forms of happiness. She does not drown out her fears but acknowledges the fragility they form in her. Delicate floral plates in white paper porcelain find forms when she fires them in her London studio calling them ‘Universal Forms’ uncontrolled, undecided but flower to surprise.

Sumesh-Manoj-Sharma, Alibaug, 2023.