Festival of Culture


Exhibition: The Sweet Shop Owners of Calcutta and other ideas

03 June 2019–07 June 2019, 8:30 am–9:00 pm

The Sweet Shop Owners of Calcutta and other ideas by Amit Chaudhuri

This exhibition by Amit Chaudhuri, novelist, poet, essayist, and musician, of artworks conceptualised and created by him, is being shown for the first time in their entirety in London.

This event is free.

Event Information

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Festival of Culture Team


Lower Ground Floor Gallery
82 Gower Street

This exhibition, The Sweet Shop Owners of Calcutta and other ideas, sees a further extension of his interest in working across genres in a way that involves a fresh engagement with the everyday world and its uniqueness. He is an experimenter with, and thinker on, form.

The exhibition is arranged in three parts. Each constitutes an encounter. The first has to do with the portraits of sweet shop owners which you may or may not notice whenever you walk into a mishtir dokan, a sweet shop, in Calcutta. To confront them is to face their mystery, for the owners possess the same air that the ‘great men’ of 19th-century Bengal did. This bit of the exhibition attempts to look at the human figure in its unexpectedness while allowing oneself to be transformed implicitly by its everyday context. The second part, ‘Unusable Gifts’, comprises a particular genre: the sort of gifts we have all received at some point or the other that we have no use for. What should we do with them? The third part of the exhibition, ‘Indian Road Signs’, presents the viewer with road signs we are familiar with, except that these particular signs, created by Chaudhuri, express directives and messages that liberate them from their usual function. The various elements of the exhibition are intended to add up to a cosmology or version of the world.

Amit Chaudhuri is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia and was a fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, 2018-19. This year he is Annual Visiting Fellow in the UCL Department of English Language & Literature.

A launch event for the exhibition will take place on Monday 3 June at Waterstones. Register your place

UCL Festival of Culture
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