The first shows I did in India would have been like a year after I arrived. I made like 20 appalling paintings, which I have still in my storage. And yeah, it was lovely. And the opening, there were like nine people, two, three or four of whom were all my family, and my mother was there. And yeah, that was kind of crazy.
And then the first shows — I mean there was not a lot of exhibitions in India. There was not a lot of people looking at art. So, if you wanted to have an exhibition, you booked the hall, you invited everyone, you made your card, you called all your friends, you put your address book. So, there was no sort of system of galleries as such. So, we were the all performing one man band, which in some ways is really hard, but in the other way it teaches you a lot of skills actually.
So, you learn about transport, trucking, shipping, moving, packing, invitation, archiving, because you have to take your own photographs as well. So, the early years in India, we were pretty much doing everything for ourselves, which was fun and hard. Yeah, it was India. And you know, then I’d say in the early ’90s, it started to get a little bit more interesting, where artists started arriving. Peter Negi arrived about the same time we all met. He opened his new gallery. We joined the gallery. And he was one of the first gallerists to start showing contemporary art in a kind of sort of dynamic way. Khoj, the artist organization, started in the early ’90s, 1997. That’s a space now, it’s what, 20 years old? We were all part of the founding committee; five of us, Subodh included, myself, and three other artists.
And now Khoj is a really dynamic space of contemporary — it’s an artist-run space of — yeah, and we sort of make — I remember the first, the very early workshops were literally about just bringing artists together from India, and putting them all in one space, and just talking and making a workshop, inviting international artists to say, “Hey, come to India, and let’s start a dialogue.” And I think not just with Western countries, but Khoj has been instrumental in creating a Southeast Asian network. So, we have friends from Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and China, and Nepal, and all around our region; Indonesia, and Philippines, Colombo, Sri Lanka. I mean all these places, we have now sort of partner, friend networks.
So, yeah, I mean I think it all moved quite — you always knew that there was going to be this storm, and maybe we were just sort of preparing for it.