Embracing a pig in her arms, a half-clothed woman stares at the viewer through a canvas by Slovenian artist Tina Dobrajc. Titled Cultural Death II, the painting on display at Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), draws visitors’ attention towards the white avba the woman is wearing, which is a folklore Slovenian headpiece worn by married women. Through the work, Dobrajc says she aims to create the fusion of “a national folklore garment and a sexually liberated female body”. As she marks the pig with a yellow dot to indicate its fateful journey of being turned into meat anytime soon, Dobrajc says, “Animals, in this case a little pig, deepen the antagonism between the respect for tradition and personal emancipation.”
The work is a part of an exhibition titled “Slovenindia”, featuring 17 artists from Slovenia, to mark the country’s
25th independence day. Through 31 paintings and mixed media works, the artists explore divergent themes such as nature and forests, landscapes and the status of women. Curated by Slovenian artists Breda Sturm and Brina Torkar, the exhibition is a part of the cultural exchange programme between India and Slovenia and hopes to bring in a cultural dialogue by showcasing Indian art in Slovenia.
Torkar, 38, says, “Most of the participating artists are contemporary painters. Usually, they showcase the prints in foreign countries because they are easier to transport. This time, we were stubborn about bringing the original artworks, as we want the people in India to know more about our art.”
Sturm adds, “We have tried to bring together the young generation of Slovenian artists as well as established artists and have combined these generations to present their works to the Indian audience.” Through her “Turn a New Page” series, the 40-year-old explores the notion of new beginnings, much like her country’s own journey.
White circular dots arranged in lines ornate her already white canvas, just like notes on a white sheet music where musical symbols indicate the different pitches, rhythms and chords of a song. Sturm says, “The use of white denotes new beginnings and how we should not be afraid of them.”