Maithili Bavkar

September 27 to October 4

Drawing, 2022

How to grow hair in a jar?

Find a small jar that you can spare,
Fallen hair may be planted with care.
A second chance at life, no longer dead,
Far away from the always stressing head!

September 13 to September 20

For hair to be uncombed,
It will take more than
Running your comb backwards
through your hair.
You must remember,
how many knots were undone,
You must reverse,
the violent straightening.
You must drain out,
The pervasive oil.
Return the lice,
To their welcoming home.
Lovingly and with care,
Add the knots
Back into your hair.

February 22 to March 1

There is so much to carry on my body

Digital print 2022

February 15 to February 22

Sowing seeds, 2022

Digital Print

March 8 to March 16

Black Brides

December 8 to December 15

Black Brides

The saree, which is the traditional Indian woman’s attire, is rarely found in black. It is considered an inauspicious colour for an occasion such as an Indian wedding. For me the black saree in this work is specifically a bride’s saree. In India, it is necessary for all married women to wear a chain made of black and gold beads called a ‘Mangalsutra’, never to be removed as long as they are married. It is the symbol of a marriage only carried by women. I used Mangalsutras and reformed them into vaginas, stitched as motifs on the black saree. The motifs, perfect at first, are shifting and becoming unmade and broken along the end of the saree. Marriage tends to be a focal point of an Indian woman’s life and she is expected to be a virgin until marriage. As marital rape is not recognized as a crime in India, women’s bodies are not their own and are controlled by conservative patriarchal rules of the society. Draping the black saree with vaginas, for me becomes a space to escape narratives written for us and reclaim our bodies.

November 24 to December 01

Paint my hands

The painting is a part of a series of hand gestures used in wedding rituals. The pattern on the hands is derived from the mehendi or henna pattern which is drawn on the bride’s palm. In these paintings the decorative pattern is a silver sheen on the hand. It is what causes an erasure and breaks the form of the hand. Thinking about marking as an act, and in the very act of marking one is erasing. It seems non-violent but may not be. It is quiet and unsuspecting, so much that what is being erased in the process doesn’t mind it so much or even put up a fight. It lets itself get consumed.

Maithili Bavkar is an artist based in India. She completed her MA in Visual Arts from Ambedkar University, Delhi. In her practice, she often engages with the uncanny through various mediums, including fictional allegories, poems, sound, video, and explores alternate possibilities for speakabilities through artistic interventions. Maithili Bavkar was part of ‘Chi Chi’ exhibition curated by Shivanjani Lal at Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney, Australia, “Turf Water” group exhibition, ARTBAT FEST, Almaty, Kazakhstan and a solo exhibition ‘Black Brides’ in Clark House Initiative, Mumbai in 2018.

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