Women artists from across the country dwell on the politics of a male-centric society in an exhibition called R.A.P.E.
Gurgaon-based artist Megha Joshis mixed media work titled My Daughters Will in ink and thread on board has the map of Delhi and NCR painted in red,with high-rise buildings in the background that reference Gurgaon. On it are the words,My Daughter will Walk These Streets without Fear. This is part of the exhibition titled R.A.P.E at Art Bull gallery which begins today and has brought together 24 women artists to address gender issues.
I have two teenage daughters. I had a liberal upbringing where I was allowed to dress the way I wanted and go where I wanted. But,I often find myself telling my daughters what to wear to a mall. I see the hypocrisy and often realise that I am contradicting myself, says the 39-year-old artist. In her artwork,there are women squatting near the Yamuna while men are standing with their backs to the road. The city is hostile to women. If we want to go to the washroom,it is hard to find a public toilet, says Joshi.
The name of the exhibition raises eyebrows as much as the show itself. The idea for the show came to curator Johny ML when he saw the protests against the Delhi gang rape in the Capital. Just as women there said they didnt need men to crusade for them,Johny too was asked if it would be justified for a man to curate an exhibition on womens issues.
He says,The Delhi gang rape was only a context for the artists to ideate about gender issues. As a curator,I am not looking for cheap sensationalism. From the beginning,the title of the exhibition has been a metaphor and an abbreviation for Rare Acts of Political Engagement (R.A.P.E) in our personal lives. Through their artworks,the artists protest against a male-dominated society and have expressed their angst against social atrocities such as rape, says Johny.
Mumbai-based artist Sushma Sabnis,in her painting titled Forbidden Fruit of Wisdom,has painted an apple eaten from both the sides while two silhouettes stand next to each other beside a tree with their heads bent down with shame. I have referred to excerpts from the Book of Genesis in the Bible,where Eve is blamed for asking Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. She did it out of curiosity. Women have been paying for their curiosity. I think both men and women are equally responsible,and women alone should not be blamed for a sinful deed. The painting addresses the concept of shame and where it comes from, says Sabnis.
The exhibition is on display at Art Bull Art Gallery & Auction House,F-213,C,First Floor,(SIS Building),Lado Sarai till April 30. Contact: 6568 3083.