No Parsi Is An Island aims to retrieve the lost history, life and often forgotten works of Zoroastrian artists. And the exhibition achieves that goal with ease. Curated by art historian Nancy Adajania and poet, critic Ranjit Hoskote along with Pheroza Godrej, the exhibition attempts to highlight artists that “embody an inspiring model of artistic practice: One that is varied and multi-directional.” On display are works of 14 artists spanning 150 years of art, with paintings such as those by Pestonji Bomanji dating back to the 1880s to those completed as recent as a month ago by artist Mehlli Gobhai, spanning diverse artistic material.
The title of this showing is adapted from poet John Donne’s No Man Is An Island as the curators wanted to show the contribution of these artists to fields such as culture and politics. Explains Nancy, “We wanted to show how each artist has reached out to the world at large. For example, Gieve Patel was not just an artist but also a playwright and poem and in fact we’ve highlighted one of his poems that’s a political statement on being a Parsi in a country like India. While Gobhai is known for his abstract work, few know he also illustrated children’s books. Artist Shiavax Chavda not only painted extensively with a keen interest for dance and music, but also did extensive dance research for the costumes for the film Amrapali, as well as many illustrations for Marg magazine.
Others like Nelly Sethna contributed to textiles and crafts.” Some of the other works on display are by Piloo Pochkhanawala, Adi Davierwalla, Jehangir Ardeshir Lalkaka and Sorab Pithawalla.