Night Gallery is proud to announce the representation of the artist Divya Mehra. This partnership follows Mehra’s solo exhibition The funny things You do (2021) and participation in the group show Blue State (2018) at Night Gallery. Mehra is the 2022 recipient of the Sobey Art Award, presented annually by the National Gallery of Canada and regarded as one of the most generous prizes for contemporary artists in the world.
In her recent project From India to Canada and back to India (There is nothing I can possess which you cannot take away), 2020, Mehra’s research for the exhibition led to the repatriation and institutional deaccession of a looted artifact from the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Canada back to India. To address the new gap in the gallery’s collection, Mehra produced a work that continues to incite institutional critique. There is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away (Not Vishnu: New ways of Darsána) is 2.4 pounds of sand and a custom canvas pouch that alludes to the 1981 film Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Indiana Jones steals a golden idol and leaves a bag of sand in its place. Mehra’s bag of sand now rests in the MacKenzie Art Gallery vault as part of their permanent collection.
Jonathan Shaughnessy, Director, Curatorial Initiatives, National Gallery of Canada, and Chair of the Sobey Art Award Jury said about Mehra’s work:
“Untethered to any specific medium, the impact of Mehra’s practice extends beyond established constructs of art. Her approach is defined by its sharp wit, disarmingly playful allure, and attentiveness to language and aesthetics. Her most recent explorations turn towards issues of repatriation, ownership, and modes of cultural consumption that fundamentally implicate both institutions and their publics.”
Divya Mehra (b. 1981, Winnipeg, Manitoba) has had recent solo presentations at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Paid, Seattle; MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Winnipeg Art Gallery, MB; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, ON, among others. Her work has been exhibited, screened, and commissioned by Creative Time, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Queens Museum of Art, New York; MASS MoCA, North Adams; Banff Centre, AB; CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Artspeak, Vancouver; Consulate General of India in New York, NY; Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto; and the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of the 2022 Sobey Art Award, and her work is featured in the 2022 Sobey Art Award Exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Mehra has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Times of India, ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum, Hyperallergic, ARTnews, The Art Newspaper, The Globe and Mail, CBC Ideas, and The Washington Post. Her work belongs in multiple collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Art Gallery of Hamilton, ON; Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, KS; and MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. In 2024, Mehra will present a solo exhibition at Night Gallery, Los Angeles. Mehra lives and works in Seattle, WA.