Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chili Salon Enters a New Decade

The first Chili Salon of 2010 kicked off with a trio of artists representing different media. But by the end of the night, a common thread emerged in each artist's layered approach to his or her work. It was as layered as the food offerings of the evening, spicy nuts to cranberry-cheese-bread (a soft piece of heaven from a Colombian bakery nearby). First came the appetizers - samosa and pakoras, chips and cheese.

Onto a series of poems by Barbara Chai. Her words took apart Chinese characters, at times playfully, at times symbolically, ending with a few stanzas about her own name that evoked images of her parents' arrival to America, their assertion of identity, and Barbara's of herself. Barbara, a journalist, then fielded questions about her creative process and the mental "switch" between forms of writing. Then a break for dinner: biriyani, daal, rice, bean and corn chili (of course), beet and chick pea salad....The crowd dined while turning their attention to the screen.
GiriMohan Coneti
and Gandharv Bhagat showed their avant garde film "Blink," a narrative constructed from short vignettes demonstrating life, death and what lies in between.

Onto dessert--and a slideshow of paintings from salon host, Nitin Mukul. Nitin discussed the imagery that inspired his work, from effigy fires to juxtaposed representations of urban and rural life, to the material and natural world - and his process, often a photograph, tea stains, and titles from famous novels or movies. By then, his co-host, 5-year-old Naya Meenakshi Kalita Mukul, was asleep, and after some more chatter, the guests headed home to join her in slumber.

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