Decorative dots speak volumes
Updated: 2014-02-23 11:43
By Wu Ni (China Daily)
The fiberglass hyena sculpture shares its name with that of the exhibition, Misdemeanours. Wu Ni / China Daily
The iconic bindi is an important facet of traditional Indian culture from which artist Bharti Kher draws inspiration for her creations, writes Wu Ni in Shanghai.
About 20 artworks by Indian contemporary artist Bharti Kher are being exhibited across six floors of the Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum.
Kher was born in the United Kingdom, as the daughter of Indian immigrants. After obtaining her art education in Britain, Kher moved to India in her 20s, where she was greatly influenced by the religions, myths and culture of her home country. Now, the 45-year-old artist lives in New Delhi with her Indian husband, who is also an artist.
Kher has drawn inspiration from traditional Indian culture in her creations. And the bindi, the popular forehead decoration worn by women in India, has become the most significant element in her works, including paintings, sculptures and installations.
The most outstanding installation is the one hung on the north facade of the museum building. Entitled Target Queen, 16 giant colorful bindis, each measuring about 4 meters in diameter, with overlapping, receding circles akin to a number of giant targets, are installed on the wall.
"It serves as a conceptual and physical 'skin' that encases the museum's monumental facade," says the curator Sandhini Poddar, a Mumbai-based art historian.
From being an outsider in Britain to being an outsider in India, Kher's works have always revolved around the difficult tensions of identity.
Images of animals and hybrid creatures are frequent themes in Kher's works. On the entrance of the Bund-side museum stands a ferocious hyena sculpture made out of fiberglass, with a piece of fur on its back.