Seven Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Baroda-based artist Hetal Chudasama entitled Gift of Tongues. This suite of new works takes Ovid’s account of the rape and mutilation of Philomela at the hands of Tereus as its point of departure, integrating a number of other concerns into its reading. In focusing on the myth of Philomela, the exhibition explores the victim’s strength and creativity after the fact of trauma. Resistance is seen as a tool for breaking down existing structures and demands that we go beyond the notion that an actual or metaphorical rape inevitably leads to destruction. If Tereus brutally cuts out Philomela’s tongue after raping her, the tongue comes back to life in this exhibition. Significantly here, the tongue can be symbolic of that which is childish and playful, something sexual, and it is of course also the vehicle for language and expression.
Gift of Tongues includes a number of representational and more abstract wax sculptures, sensual forms that may be read as body parts or orifices. The show also includes drawings, video, performance and a large sculpture crocheted in black wool which, taken altogether, are to be seen as part of a larger whole. Construed as a meandering series of installations, the entire exhibition is intended to operate as large organic life form, a sort of underwater coral reef. The black crocheted form functions as a key to the rest of the exhibition, signifying the entire belief system upon which society is constructed which at the same time can be dismantled through the power of resistance. If we pull the single thread from which this metaphorical construction is composed, everything returns to formlessness. For the opening evening, the artist will stage a performance in several parts involving nine people in a number of different situations within the space of the gallery.