Once upon a sunlit morning, I wandered into the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art with a curious heart and an eager mind. The art exhibition beckoning me was aptly named "Very Small Feelings”, a refreshing art collection that promised to stir emotions buried deep within the recesses of my memory, and so it rightly did. As I stepped inside the museum, little did I know that this enchanting exhibition would take me on a whimsical journey back to my childhood, where perceptions and feelings held a magic of their own.
Artworks here did not feel otherworldly, it felt like I was watching glimpses of my own childhood thoughts come alive on the art-filled walls, for it reminded me of a time when the world seemed infinite, and my imagination knew no bounds. I felt like that young girl, embracing the beauty of innocence and the sheer joy of being alive.
As I strolled further into the museum, there was a lot to look at. Forty-two glorious projects, each diligently crafted and created with an extensive understanding & portrayal of the funhouse that is childhood. The essence of nostalgia reverberated through each piece of art. There were paintings that showcased the adventures of the stories I would ask my parents to read to me on a loop, followed by a set of immersive art experiences that offered me an opportunity to relive and re-imagine my childhood. The artists masterfully captured the essence of childhood: the boundless creativity shrouded in the gentle lace of innocence, the freedom to dream, and the endless possibilities that life seemed to offer.
However, the exhibition’s underlying theme ventured beyond the traditional portrayal of childhood as merely a biologically set phase of life. Instead, it celebrated the idea that childhood is a perception—a precious treasure chest of feelings and memories that we carry with us throughout our lives. These feelings, no matter how "small" they may seem, have the power to shape us, influence our choices, and keep the fires of imagination burning bright even as we grow older. Artwork that spans across ages & borders, the show is as small as the hands that birthed some of the artwork and as big as the grandeur of the stories that we grew up on.
Beyond the paintings, the art exhibition also hosted, immersive art installations that invite visitors to be a part of the artwork themselves. It truly makes you feel one with the art and the child inside you. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain an artist when you grow up” - this art exhibition nurtures the childlike spirit where we learn to trust the most insane ideas and explore what is possible. This exhibition taught me to embrace my inner voice, dare to dream crazy, and most importantly, feel alive.
I discovered exciting highlights at the exhibition, including:
A new commission by Mumbai architects Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty.A sculptural installation by Delhi artist Murari Jha a beautiful performance by Shillong artist Lapdiang Syiem, bridging India and Bangladesh through folklore and so much more.
As I reluctantly bid farewell to the enticing world of "Very Small Feelings," I realized that the art show had illuminated a profound truth. Childhood, though a transient phase in time, is a treasure trove of emotions that shape us throughout our lives. The art here effortlessly captured that essence—a perfect blend of childlike wonder and thought-provoking depth.
Stepping out of the museum, I felt an overwhelming urge to embrace my inner child, to nurture my creative spirit, and cherish the small feelings that had once colored my world so vibrantly. The magic of the art exhibition remained with me, a gentle reminder that our perception of childhood is not confined to the past but a tapestry of emotions that weaves its way into our present and future.
And so, I walked away with a heart brimming with a newfound appreciation for the profound yet childlike core that resides within each of us. This core is always eager to explore, dream, and feel the very small feelings that make life extraordinary.
The exhibition is curated by Akansha Rastogi (Senior Curator, KNMA) and Diana Campbell (Chief Curator, Dhaka Art Summit) with Ruxmini Choudhury (Assistant Curator, Samdani Art Foundation), Avik Debdas and Swati Kumari (Curatorial and Research Associates, KNMA). Co-produced by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Samdani Art Foundation (SAF)
You too can bear witness to the beauty of your childhood till the 20th of August 2023 at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), Delhi & remember to always keep the child inside you alive & hopeful.