shadow circus

at SAVVY contemporary

Feb 8 - March 10th, 2019

Thu-Sun 14-19h

Who would’ve guessed that in the 1960s the CIA would’ve gotten involved with a rebellious insurgency under the pretext of fighting communism?

Let’s be honest, at this point, pretty much everyone…

So for those of you who guessed it right, and even for the ones who didn’t, you’d perhaps wanna know about the latest exhibition at SAVVY Contemporary.

The exhibition tells the story of the Shadow Circus operation conducted by the CIA in 1956 trying to get intel about the Chinese government from Tibetan rebels of the Mustang Resistance Force fighting for their country’s freedom. It serves both as an art display, showcasing pieces done by the rebels and their American handlers alike, and as an informational exposé on the hidden history of the operation.

Of course it wasn’t out of the ordinary for the CIA to meddle in the business of other countries when it favored US foreign policy, especially during the Cold War, and particularly when the excuse was fighting communism. However what is unusual about this op, which ran for over 10 years (!!), is how friendly and familiar the rebels and the agents got with one another, sharing drawings, paintings and family stories - all on display at SAVVY.

The highlight of the show is a documentary shot by artists Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam concerning the whole incident and including interviews with some of the leading members of the rebellion. 

Since it’s not everyday you get to have a personal look into such a private and classified moment of history, we recommend paying a visit to SAVVY before the exhibition moves on.