Kiss Taraf Exhibition / Art Installation


NameKiss Taraf
Start Date6 October 2023
End Date22 October 2023
Names of ArtistsTiffany Singh, brunelle dias, Gitanjali Bhatt, Rhea Maheswari, and Tarika Sabherwal
Organiser / VenueArt Paper
ArtformVisual arts
CityTāmaki Makaurau Auckland


Kiss Taraf was an exhibition held at the offices of The Art Paper in October 2023. The exhibition featured the work of Tiffany Singh, brunelle dias, Gitanjali Bhatt, Rhea Maheswari, and Tarika Sabherwal, all women of South Asian descent.

‘Kiss Taraf’ translates from Hindi to 'which way' in English, signalling each artist's exploration of cultural movement, physical travel, and the voyages of people and characters that reflect their own journeys. The title plays with the word 'kiss' and its affectionate meaning in the English language to signify these five artists' love for movement and being moved, regardless of destination or preconceived goals. 'Kiss taraf' signifies the personal passages the artists take to discover their relationship with being tauiwi in Aotearoa.

One of the exhibiting artists, brunelle dias, describes their intention to showcase the work of these artists:

‘oriental’ migrants, as they traverse west and eastward physically and psychologically, their compass reorientates; the needle seems to point towards the heart rather than a destination. The artists journey with their relationship between both directions, indefinitely.

brunelle dias’ paintings examine the sense of place, using a combination of playful titles and imagery to give each piece an idea of location. One piece, Pakuranga Falls, is a long and narrow framed canvas depicting a stream of water pouring from a pot of rice being cleaned. Its size and combination of white and blues to create a heavy flow of water echoes a landscape painting of a waterfall. It is a kind of postcard from a domestic Pakuranga, a suburb that dias calls home.

The experimental filming apparatuses that Gitanjali Bhatt created for this exhibition capture her journey through the South Island, visiting the many filming locations that have been backgrounds to several Bollywood movies. Her video documents these sights, not in their traditional picturesque manner, but through an obscure and abstract lens that de-romanticises these otherwise glorified settings.

Tarika Sabherwahl’s paintings explore stories from several moments in Indian history. The diptych piece The horses whose wings were not clipped references the story from Hindu mythology of Surya, the Sun God’s wife replicating herself into one shadow self that was the mother and wife, and the second into a horse and wandering through meadows. Surya becomes aware of this transformation and then travels to find his wife in her horse form, to turn himself into a horse so they may live together happily. These ink-on-canvas works depict a pair of shadowy horses in greyscale, who each have a set of glowing wings that are of contrasting light colours.

Rhea Maheshwari’s paintings play with perspective and geometry, paying homage to 17th and 18th-century Indian miniature paintings. The piece illuminated portal utilises a minimal colour palette predominantly using purples and blues, with accents of white, black, and green. The composition and content create a painting that is both a tapestry and a landscape that has been methodically mapped out and executed.

In an interview with RNZ’s Blessen Tom, dias explains that the exhibition reflects “the fact we’re on this journey together” as artists creating this exhibition collaboratively without a curator, but as a group.


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A woman with black plaited hair and a black dress stands to the right of a painting mounted on the wall

brunelle dias with pakuranga falls, 2023

Photo of a woman standing in front of a painting

Rhea Maheshwari with her painting illuminated portal, 2023

Photo courtesy of Brunelle Dias

Photo of a person looking at a projection of a video

Photo from the Kiss Taraf opening of Queenstown Lakefront video and Queenstown Lakefront apparatus by Gitanjali Bhatt.

Image courtesy of Brunelle Dias

People viewing an art exhibition

Image from the opening of Kiss Taraf

Image courtesy of Brunelle Dias

People standing in a building's courtyard

Photo from the Kiss Taraf opening with hubcaps I collected by Gitanjali Bhatt in the centre.

Image courtesy of Brunelle Dias