Nations is an installation of 192 treadle sewing machines and hand-painted flags representing the countries in the United Nations, all entangled with multiples of thread. It fills the front gallery space from floor to ceiling.
NS Harsha questions international politics combining serious discussion with visual wit. He refers to the outsourcing of labour in response to the demands of world economies, as well as the networks that exist between countries.
“This work took shape after my visit to a local small scale textile factory in which I personally experienced the realities of ‘human labour’. Hierarchies and exploitation are part of today’s global economic order. Nations engages with these socio-political complexities and cultural entanglements.”
Exhibited here for the first time in Europe, Nations was shown at Sharjah Biennial in 2008, and the Shanghai Art Fair in 2007. Here the work is arranged stacked up in the gallery space to create the intensity of a sweatshop enviornment.
East London has a history of textile production dating back hundreds of years from the French Huguenot Protestants with their knowledge of silk-weaving in the 17th century to families from South Asia bringing new skills in recent years.
NS Harsha lives and works in Mysore, India. He was the recipient of the 3rd Artes Mundi Prize awarded in 2008 and worked with Iniva in 2000. Picking Through the Rubble, an exhibition by NS Harsha, is showing at Victoria Miro Gallery from 10 October – 14 November 2009.