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Basu and Kang at Gallery ABBA

On Oct. 22, senior studio art majors Rahul Basu and Hannah Kang opened their very first gallery at Gallery ABBA. Located downtown, on the corner of Pleasant Street and Grand Avenue sits the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB). Gallery ABBA is housed at CELEB. It is an open gallery space for students to display and sell their artwork. Gallery ABBA is known for its biweekly rotation of student galleries, and the Basu-Kang gallery is just the first of many more to come this school year!

Basu and Kang say they were impressed by the turnout at their gallery opening. The two are seniors, so they will be having another gallery at the end of the year, and they appreciate this “practice run.” Basu described himself as a “mixed medium” artist, but admitted that he finds the most joy in printmaking. Kang, on the other hand, finds that her comfort zone falls into the realm of painting, but that she dislikes labeling herself as merely a painter. Both artists told me that art has been a huge part of their lives ever since they were children, and that they have experimented with all sorts of mediums. They have each taken classes in different mediums. In fact, Kang is the TA of the painting course in which Basu is currently enrolled!

Although Basu and Kang have different preferences when it comes to creating art, the messages behind their work are quite similar. Kang, a Korean-American woman, creates much of her art in response to the fetishization and stereotyping of Asian people. Even when her art is not about her culture, she says that her work is heavily influenced by Korean painting techniques. Of the influence Korean art has on her, Kang said, “It allows me to access a part of the culture that I did not have growing up.” Basu, who is from India, is very passionate about capturing the true essence of Indian cities in his work. Critiquing the Indian caste system is also something that Basu enjoys doing through his art. He told me that many of his pieces consist of drab colors because those are “the colors of his life” back home. He also expressed that, similar to Kang, his artistic style is influenced by his native land. The cohesion of the heart behind Basu and Kang’s art combined with the juxtaposition of Basu’s drab color palette and Kang’s vibrant one made the gallery all the more beautiful. It is also amazing to be able to witness the progression of their art, as the gallery consists not only of recent works, but pieces as far back as the duo’s freshman year.

Basu found the experience empowering, as he said that having his “art being used as art in a gallery instead of the studio” was a foreign thing to him. He also told me that he was able to sell a decent number of his prints; however, there were a number of works that he deemed too sentimental to sell. The gallery show has both artists anticipating the future, as they both yearn to have careers in art that would allow them to do shows frequently. Basu and Kang both expressed hopes that their art is regarded as socially powerful and that people are touched by the messages behind their pieces. 

The gallery is set to close within the upcoming week, so if you have time to see it before Nov. 5, I definitely recommend heading down to CELEB! 

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