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ALMADRABA 38.17° N 13.24° E

by U. Kanad Chakrabarti

15/10/2017 - 15/11/2017

"Looking at the video Almadraba 38.17° N 13.24° E after I have made it, it seems to be shot through with ghosts: Don Fabrizio Corbera, Muhammad al-Idrisi, William Kingdon Clifford... For some time, I had the intention of making an image essay, relying primarily on my own photographic archive of Sicily. My engagement with the island started in the mid-1990s in New York’s Chelsea, where I used to hang out with a bunch of artists from Catania. Over drinks at the disco-gallery Passerby, they would tell tales, bitter laments really, of their island: Holy Roman emperors thrice-excommunicated; lions and peacocks frolicking in fragrant orange groves; the Vatican’s own banker, hanging from a London bridge in shoes of concrete. And, of course, they talked of Capaci and The Kiss.

In 2003, I got to Palermo to look for myself, and over the subsequent decade and some six trips, have formed both a photographic collection and a mental picture. Three millennia of events have kept Sicily at the omphalos, the centre of the Middle Sea. Indeed, I see her as both metaphor and site for globalisation: shipping routes, petrochemicals, ecological collapse, the muezzin’s call against peal of bells, criminality metastasised into the state’s power and capital structures." U. Kanad Chakrabarti

My artistic practice originates in subjective interests outside art: principally the action of globalised markets, both today and throughout history. I am intrigued by how globalisation affects individuals, such as immigrants, as well as ‘knowledge-workers’ who are increasingly following the ‘blue-collar’ workers of yesterday into obsolescence. My own background as an itinerant banker and engineer inform my visual language, and provide, I believe, a valuable and unusual contribution to the contemporary conversation around these topics. In addressing issues, I seek to emphasise ambiguity and nuance, and while there is a political element to my practice, I do not seek to ‘shout’ or prescribe a specific political stance on the viewer.

I am a UK citizen, born in India and raised in the United States, who spent 20 years as a derivatives trader in London, Moscow and Istanbul. My undergraduate was at MIT in Computer Science (1994), and I took a MA (Painting) at the Slade School (2015).

U. Kanad Chakrabarti's Website

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