Divya Mehra, Having a great time at the Taj Mahal, 2018.
As a special project for the exhibition Vision Exchange: Perspectives from India to Canada, the AGA is presenting a new work by Canadian artist Divya Mehra in the RBC Work Room. Mehra’s installation utilizes the Taj Mahal (the iconic cultural world heritage site built in Agra during the 17th Century to house the tomb of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan’s favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal) as a point of departure. Constructed of ivory-white marble, and adorned with gem stones the Taj Mahal is considered to be the greatest achievement of Indo-Islamic architecture. However, over the years it’s opulent image has been reduced to souvenir status, effectively becoming one of many overused and problematic cultural signifiers representing South Asian people throughout the diaspora. Working from the reality of how imagery of this monumental building now proliferates via commercial goods in western popular culture, Mehra’s work is a sharp commentary on the way thousands of tourists interact with the mausoleum on a daily basis by diminishing it into a foreign backdrop for their social media stories.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the National Gallery of Canada as part of the NGC@AGA exhibition series, curated by Catherine Crowston and Jonathan Shaughnessy.
Presented with the assistance of Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke (Mumbai) and Nature Morte (New Delhi). Supported by Artist Patrons: Radhe & Krishna Gupta, Maggie & John Mitchell, The Mehra Family, and Sunil & Anita Bhatara.