This article was commissioned by Runway Journal Conversations and Peacock Gallery, in partnership with Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement.
This article is responding to 'Matahari' 2019, Kalanjay Dhir, at Peacock Gallery. In the resurgence of astrology, mindfulness and yoga, Matahari - Eye of the Day invokes past cross-cultural practices of solar worship and speculates on how to improve interfaces with our bodies, the material world and one another.
To be honest, I’ve been feeling rather indifferent as of late,I won’t get into but I’ve been
troubled by the direction I wish to take my life in, It seems like everyone these days is
carrying around a similar weight on their shoulders, it’s as if the cultural zeitgeist is a
troubled mind. If that’s the case then the Peacock Gallery’s recent exhibition taps into
that zeitgeist and provides a meditative guide to self healing amongst other things.
I knew very little about what the exhibition would hold, I knew nothing about the type of
artwork, how many pieces would be featured, or even who the artist is. His name is
Kalanjay Dhir by the way and his installation, ‘Matahari’, spoke directly to my
There are three components of the ‘Matahari’ installation, the packaging of a SunDisk
SD card with the words “energy” painted on (fittingly so as Matahari translated means
exactly that), a large pot of flowers with braided orange cables woven into, and the main
piece of the exhibition a hexagonal golden mirror/screen held up by a frame painted
I felt strong themes of self reflection in Dhir’s work, the golden hexagon has a mirror like
surface that allows the viewer to stare into themselves, turning us into active
participants of the work. As you stare into the work you’ll notice a media aspect to it, a
graphic of a planet Earth rotating and a video guide for meditation. While reflecting on
self Dhir encourages us to mediate our existence further and contemplate our existence
within the wider universe.
I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the idea being presented before me despite not
entirely being able to relate to the art, there’s an element of religion within the Dhir’s
work that I personally couldn’t connect with but can still appreciate the subject matter it
brings forth, and how it continues to encourage the viewer to explore their own mental
state and connect with themselves to reach acceptance and peace of mind. Dhir
explains “within worship there are methodologies of care, respect, and immersion”. By
allowing yourself to be immersed within the Dhir’s art you are Advertently allowing
yourself to connect with yourself and elements of life that exist beyond you.
While the hexagon takes centre stage for this exhibition, the accompanying piece also
present their own perspective. The SD card packaging has been given new context, it
could be seen as the packaging itself could be seen as a representation of stored
knowledge, and the SD a means of transferring that energy to another. A rather
wholesome way of looking at a memory card, wouldn’t you agree?
The idea of transferring knowledge for one another direct form. Dhir’s mother is listed as
an assistant for helping with the arrangement of the flower pot, to throw another
metaphor at you, Dhir Intentionally worked with his “roots”. The orange cable wrapped
around the pot is an interesting choice too, It both contrasts the organic matter but in a
way compliments. You could say extension cords are the modern day roots. Although I
wouldn’t call this piece the center of the exhibition, it certainly does tie together the
show thematically. In direct fashion, it characterises connections we have throughout
To simply put it, Kalanjay Dhir’s Matahari is a peace of mind. Through his work he
contemplates values and ideas often lost in day to day modern life, the work of
‘Matahari’ asks us to pause, think, and take a look at our lives, to look back at where
we’ve come from to guide us to where we should go, to take a moment to appreciate
the connections in our lives and to meditate on ourselves.
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