Gallery BMB Mumbai is delighted to present the two-part exhibition, Her work is Never Done, curated by Bose Krishnamachari. The first half of the exhibition opens on Monday, 15 February 2010, and the second, on Friday, 26 March 2010. While the exhibition focuses on the works of young and sometimes emergent women artists, it does not attempt to present a comprehensive or truly representative selection of women artists practicing in the country today. Instead, by showcasing an overview of the diverse pluralism in contemporary practices, the show celebrates this rich heterogeneity.
Her Work Is Never Done, brings together the work of a young breed of artists who are making art in a global, politically-charged environment, who are unafraid to confront the realities of gender-biased socio-cultural mechanisms, challenge calcified conventions and subvert stereotypes. Working in a post-digital environment where new media has effected far-reaching changes in visual perception, these artists employ a plethora of styles, with practices rooted variously in architecture, fashion, graphic design, mass media and activism, stubbornly refusing to be boxed into any reductive categories.
Aishwarya Laxmi layers digital imaging, and acrylics to compose spirited portraits of Brazilian transvestite divas. Charmi Gada Shah examines the dynamics of social space through her quasi-architectural replicas of “non-spectacular places”. Sonia Jose’s carbon pigment diptychs on paper draw us into her immediate, domestic, personal space as her handwoven shag rug intones, so much to say, over and over again. Nisha Ghosh draws on her design and architecture practice to fashion delicately crafted biomorphic forms in stainless steel mesh. Poorna Rajpal dips into the subconscious mind to construct vigorous, action-oriented, text-based impasto paintings. Gitanjali Rao’s delightful animated characters, ruminate on love, migrate from the villages to the cities, and occasionally even use matchboxes as portals to frolic in and out of fantastic vistas. Alison Byrnes subverts canonical conventions of history painting by adopting a deliberately, playful and naïve, comic-book style of imagery as she explores parallels between American and Indian histories. Nandini Valli Muthiah, who delights in playing with the visual aesthetics of studio portraiture, turns the practice topsy-turvy by framing intriguing ‘portraits’ of the backs of her subjects. Dia Mehta photographs elaborately staged tableaux vivants of 18th century Indian royal families posing for a portrait, where disturbingly (and perhaps tellingly) enough all women are mannequins. Nivedita Deshpande’s mass and weight-defying suspended site-specific sculptural installation transcends the banality of the materials used to make them. Shilpa Chavan, aka Little Shilpa, also employs ordinary, commercially produced material (rubber-chappal straps in this case) to fashion extraordinary, heroic-looking head-gear that no longer carry any traces of their lowly origins. Leena Kejriwal’s recent body of selectively solarized images made on the meandering streets of old Calcutta grapple with the city’s palimpsest where history and time collapse. Jasmeen Patheja’s practice straddles activism, performance, action and photography. Her arts project, the volunteer led collective, Blank Noise, stages participatory public interventions across cities in India (and now Pakistan) that confront the issue of street sexual harassment.