a lecture by Gayatri Sinha
September 11, Tuesday, 6:30 to 8 pm
Institute of Fine Arts, 1 East 78th Street
Gayatri Sinha, art editor, critic & curator
Beginning in 1985, Nalini Malani, Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh and Madhvi Parekh organized exhibitions of their work in Bhopal, Bombay and Delhi, designing their own installations and commissioning catalogues. Three decades later they are viewed as the first if not the only women’s artist collective in South Asia. Coming together in their 40s, and working in an intensely patriarchal society, they addressed domestic and bodily experience along with political issues. Drawing from images of the female figure in Indian myth and history, they created a model for a new, transnational feminism.
Each artist developed her own unique language: the Chinese scroll and Persian-Indic miniature in Nilima Sheikh, painted rotating Mylar ‘prayer-wheels’ in Nalani Malani, the figure of the middle aged woman as witness in Arpita Singh, and an invented folk style in the work of Madhvi Parekh. Working individually and collaboratively, they combined grass roots feminism, classical Indian art, artisanal materials and theater design, defining an alternative artistic tradition, outside the canon of modernism, that could embody women’s experience.
Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality; and Institute of Fine Arts.
Gayatri Sinha is an art editor, critic and curator. Her primary areas of enquiry are in gender in contemporary and classical art, media and South Asian social history. She has taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Lady Shriram College, and the Bhau Dajji lad Museum, and is the founder of criticalcollective.in, India’s first web based archive and news magazine on art.
Her edited volumes include: Voices of Change: 20 Indian Artists (Marg, 2010), Art and Visual Culture in India 1857- 2007 (Marg Publications, 2009); Indian Art: an Overview (Rupa Books, 2003), Expressions and Evocations Contemporary Women Artists of India (Marg, 1996). She has written monographs on Krishen Khanna, Himmat Shah and M F Husain, and is currently editing a volume on modern and contemporary Photography.
She has curated exhibitions in New Delhi, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Liege, Newark, Minneapolis, Shanghai, and Seoul, including: Part Narratives, 2017; Diary Entries, 2015; Water, 2013; Ideas of the Sublime, 2013; Cynical Love: Life in the everyday, 2011; Looking Glass: The Existence of Difference, 2010; Constructed Realities, 2010; Failed Plot, 2009; Public Places, Private Spaces: Contemporary Photography and Video Art in India, 2007-2008, Watching Me Watching India, 2006; Middle Age Spread: Imaging India 1947–2004, 2004; Vilas: The Idea of Pleasure, 2000; Woman/Goddess, 1998-2001; The Self and the World, 1997.