Review by OiendrilaMoitra
April 01, 2013


Sri: Multiple Feminisms
Anupam sud, Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Shilpa Gupta, Gauri Gill,  Amina Ahmed, Alex Davis Puneet Kaushik, Baaraan Ijlal, Shivani Agarwal,  Simeen Farhat,  Shanti Brinda, Amit Kumar Gaur, Ivy Mandal, Satyakam Saha, Satadru Sovan, Suparna Mondol
March 8-30, 2013
Engendered & The American Center, New Delhi

Sri, in Sanskrit, denotes to a Sarvaguna Sampanna woman. In the Indian tradition, a man’s name, whenever mentioned respectfully, is prefixed with Sri.

The exhibition organised by En Gendered in American Centre, New Delhi focuses on the contexts of gender equality, the position of the women in the socio-political structure of the present day world. The organisation En Gendered is a trans-national organisation of performing and practicing arts and also an activist group. The forum has used the medium of arts and culture to create change and promote social justice by initiating public dialogues. Emphasising on the condition of womanhood of the South-Asian diaspora, the exhibition showcases works by different modern and contemporary artists of South Asia. All the artists have similar questions in their minds and reflecting on their works, what will be the position of women in the 21st century of cosmopolitanism and hyper-capitalistic society.

In South-Asian countries where the issues of gender-inequality comes frontal every time we relate to the social, political, institutional and domestic structures, such free expression of voices in the form of cultural forums are a necessity. The art works reflect the fight for justice against atrocities, socio-economic empowerment of women and protection of the marginal gender values.

Alex Davis’ sculptures represent budding flowers, a symbol of feminine beauty. The material, though creates the dilemma, it is stainless steel high polished to create a masochistic look.

Satyakam Saha’s light boxes have very tender, sexual and sensually symbolist images, having strong undercurrents of desires and longing.

Barhan Ijlala’s two paintings are most interesting, one of the works, ‘Ketli of Banduq Singh’ have female bodies enticing; sit in a confused manner where the psychic plays between the frontiers of submission and protest. The floral design and decorative patterns of the woman’s dress transform itself to symbols which speak for themselves having dialogues of resist.

Simeen Farhad’s texts are Urdu words, deconstructed where the meanings and the words itself loses its significance but in the course of deconstructing, reforms into a dialogue of awakening.

Puneet Kaushik’s works are extremely interesting in both visual and contextual sense; the use of beads, steel-wool, nets and textiles connect to a strong presence of gender sensation having a story behind a narration of social condition, where gender sexuality is kept hindered.

Suparna Mondal speaks of the insecurity a woman faces in the jungle of cosmopolitan constructions, where the world of light, speed comes to engulf the sublime feminity.

Shilpa Gupta’s work is a very interesting photography print, where a single woman stands and speaks the voice of living free and living safe amidst the capitalist masochistic society with images and elements of masculine interests.

Satadru Sovan, a male artist defines his paintings with tender textures, connoting to the female nature of contouring and fineness. His canvas has images of female sexual organs superimposed into landscapes of our known surroundings.

Ivy Mondal’s print shows an embossed surface where icons of lust, desire and sexual innuendoes coexist with feminine images of garments.

Senior artists like Anjali Ela Menon, Anupam Sud and Aparna Caur have also contributed to the show; Anjali’s canvas showing an internal serene yet disturbed world of a lady, Anupams’s print depicting a woman in nude, represented like being seen by a man’s eye, very straight, very exposable.  Aparna’s small paper works also deals with images of feminist ideology with symbols and colours of feminist desires.

All the works of the show have contributed appropriately to the basic idea of En Gendered of gender-sexuality and power of the minority sex. Myna Mukherjee has a plan to move forward with such dialogue constructing shows throughout India and abroad, she has a noble wish to move forward the Voice. The success of the show will not only depend on the gallery activities, viewer and critic response, but the show will find its fulfilment if somewhere the voice is heard.

‘Sri’ is prefixed with names of man in Indian tradition. A man remains incomplete without the presence of a woman. The idea is conceptualised, visualised and realised by En Gendered. The vision waits to be viewed.