• Issue
  • Apr 30, 2024

One on One: Chitra Ganesh on Rummana Hussain

RUMMANA HUSSAIN, Dissected Projection, 1993, wood, mirror, terracotta, and acrylic, 140 × 140 cm. Courtesy Talwar Gallery, New York/New Delhi.

Rummana Hussain (1952–99) is widely considered one of India’s foremost conceptual artists. I had the great fortune of seeing her last solo show before she died, “In Order to Join,” held at Art in General in October 1998. The exhibition was a culmination of a months-long residency, and the convergence of Hussain’s work with this space was, in itself, extraordinary. The site-specific installation featured a projected video of her walking barefoot across the Queensboro Bridge in New York City combined with found objects such as hair and costume jewelry. The exhibition impacted me as a 23-year-old who had recently lost her mother, and Hussain’s practice continues to move me. Her vision is more vital than ever in 2024’s geopolitical climate, the waves of which are as evident in the art world as they are further afield, where we are constantly negotiating the implications of destruction and erasure.

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