Dimensions Variable (DV) presents a solo project titled Fragments of Anticipated Nostalgia by Ayesha Singh. The exhibition opens on June 25 and runs through September 10, 2022 in the Project Gallery.

What if we begin to see nostalgia not as something of the past but one that is unfolding in the present that we live in? A feeling that the reality we see today may not be there tomorrow. Living in a city such as Delhi, with its confluence of cultures, religions, and identities, artist Ayesha Singh often found herself experiencing what she refers to as anticipated nostalgia, a state that perceives the present and the future through the prism of loss and disappearance.

With drawings, sculptures, and installations inspired by architecture and collective memory, Singh speaks of contemporary reality as one, that is, extremely volatile to changing political conditions of the world. For Singh, architecture is at the core of her inquiry, especially in its ability to embody transitions of time and history across reigns and disasters. It is, for her, also the space of deep contestation prone to historical revisions catering to the ones that hold power.

Fragments of Anticipated Nostalgia brings together instances from Singh’s multiple artistic inquiries to speak of current histories in all their possibilities and contradictions. They are inspired by the rapidly changing urban landscape of Delhi that is reorienting its past whilst inventing new and singular trajectories of belonging. These shifts include finding new historical heroes, renaming the central roads of Delhi, and demolishing monuments across the country as they pose it as finding true roots of cultural heritage.

Amid these cultural and political contingencies, Singh uses paper, metal, and scaffold structures to propose a hybrid space of memory that simultaneously speaks of history, its loss, and potential retrieval. In a time where India is preoccupied with building a singular national narrative, Singh reminds us of the potentiality of whispers when there isn’t much room for speech.

Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi

New Delhi, 2022