Maithili Bavkar

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.

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