The project Epoch 2020: Relevance of Gandhi in the Present Tense – Time, Rebirth, and Iconology (2021) by Shelly Jyoti is in response to the lived experience of the unprecedented times of the deadly Corona virus which exposed the limits of modernity. The Corona Virus has posed psychic, existential and spiritual questions and their aftermath on mankind. Jyoti feels that the pandemic might initiate another renaissance for 21th century which would be a time to pause, self-reflect, reconstruct and overcome the tide.
In experiencing such epochal times, Jyoti explores two questions. First is the question of what time and temporality is through an iconology of time – she investigates these epochal experiences through symbols and metaphors. Jyoti attempts to explore the ‘shapes of time’ through pictures, scales and diagrams that render time in visual form. Her second inquiry is: What do pictures mean in their ability to explain present times as well as historically? Jyoti revisits her own collection of decades of work that she refers to as “timelessness and time-binding of Gandhi’s philosophy of ‘Collective consciousness.’
As a visual artist and poet, this exhibition features 30 small format diptychs on paper, short poems from her series ‘Passage of time’, and site-specific installations of her collection of textile kites titled ‘Unsettled winds”. Jyoti describes the ‘Epoch 2020’ series as a “rebirth” of her previous works translated on acid free paper and layered with mixed media that utilizes 4500-year-old textile tradition of reverse block printing with natural dyes, called ‘Ajrakh’ practiced by Indus Valley Civilization.